revisiting an old friend

With apologies to Simon and Garfunkel:

Hello tracking, my old friend 

I’ve come to need you once again 

Because of pounds slowly creeping 

On my frame while I was “sleeping” 

‘Cause the issues that were planted in my brain 

Still remain 

I find I need your guidance.

So. There it is. Me saying I’m no longer maintaining, I’m ever so slowly gaining. Again.

I finally got within striking distance (about ten pounds) of my goal weight last fall. And then… I don’t know what happened. Boredom, stress, kids home all the time, comfort food…. the real answer is complicated. It’s a mix of complacency and age-old issues with emotional eating that I thought had been overcome. Sprinkle in some doubt and confusion about my dietary lifestyle choice and you’ve got a slow but steady recipe for guaranteed weight gain.

While I hash out some of these issues, I’ve decided to return to tracking my food. It’s boring, it’s time-consuming, it’s at times embarrassing, but – above all – it’s eye-opening.  Oh, and it works. I wavered between using an online tracker such as SparkPeople to track calories and all, or whether to go the simple pen and paper route. Since I know my issues to be mostly emotional and mindless eating, and I also know the numbers mess with my head, I’m opening a fresh composition notebook and tracking manually. That way I can track the when, the why, and the emotions involved with every choice.

Do you track? Should you? Share with us in the comments your preferred tracking method and how successful it is for you. Or, contrarily, why you choose not to track, if that’s the case!

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  • LissaJoy

    I am tracking using My Fitness Pal. I hate tracking, but obviously, I NEED TO!

  • Bari_F

    I definitely need to be tracking again. I feeling such a failure knowing I’m going to be getting on the scale at the doctor’s office Friday at least 15 pounds heavier than I was last year. It’s embarrassing & sad all at the same time.

    • shrinkingjeans

      Bari, I’m in the same place as you. We can turn it around!!

    • Karena @ Traveling Well

      I’m right there with you. I’m so PO’d at myself for losing so much ground. I’ve whined and stamped my foot for a couple weeks, and that didn’t do any good :) Now I’m going to pull up my big girl pants and take responsibilty for it. You can INDEED turn it around, Bari, as Christy says. We’re in this together!

  • Adah

    tracking is such an evil necessity…I’m gained back all but 5 lbs that I lost a year ago and really dilike where I’m at.

  • Andy Drouin

    I really have to track every day or I lose sight so quickly.  And for me, I need to track every morsel that goes in my mouth.  It’s the little bits and bites of this and that that add up quickly.

  • anng

    Tracking is necessary for me which probably explains why I’m getting no place (good) fast. Back to my fitness pal again!!

  • Keni Lynn Campbell

    I am loving MyFitnessPal.  I got my husband using it and have found that several of my friends use it, too.  I love it when people share their diaries so that other people can read them; it gives me inspiration and ideas on what I can eat.

  • Greg Kuhn

    Hello Karena.  Thank you for this great post.  I can identify and, in fact, I started to feel the same experiences last week.  Please allow to share what I’ve found that works.

    I’ve been using quantum physics to maintain my weight for quite a while now.  Been successful at keeping of the big ‘ol roll I used to have back in 1996.  And I believe I’m not more special than anyone else, nor unique.  I’m no calorie-counter and I’m not a workout warrior.

    Calorie counting doesn’t work for me because it’s just another way for me to focus on a “don’t want” and it feels like suffering and deprivation.  That’s just for me (I’m not trying to sound preachy), but that’s just one of the things I learned from studying quantum physics.

    One of the bigger things I learned from quantum physics is that we all hold a mental image, through our habitual, cognitive patterns of thought, about how we look (and everything else about ourselves).  Our current beliefs about who we are and what we look like are, literally, just thoughts we’ve thought long enough that we have granted them the exalted title of “the truth.”

    But, just as reality is entirely subjective (quantum physics teaches us that each observer will see her own, unique universe – and that is meant to be taken literally, not metaphorically), so our our beliefs.  If I discover a belief that is not serving me and is causing me pain and unwanted results (like “Greg is fat” or “Greg can’t lose his unwanted weight”), guess what?  I have the God-given right to change that belief! 

    Our beliefs are not the carved-in-stone monuments of “truth” we’ve made them out to be.  They are only our habitual thoughts.  They are only true for us, not universally true, and we are free to change them.

    Why am I making such a big deal about beliefs?  Because quantum physics is quite clear in teaching us that when we change a belief we will, literally, change our universe.  When we change a belief we will, literally, see a different “reality”, one that is in alignment with our new belief.

    We now know that this is actually how our universe really works.  In other words, this is not some feel-good-philosophy.  It is real science.  And it really works!

    Sorry for going on so long.  Your post was really inspiring!

    Thanks again for sharing it!

    • Karena @ Traveling Well

      Interesting post, Greg. Quantum physics is a little deep for me, but I certainly can relate to the truth in this statement:

      “Our beliefs are not the carved-in-stone monuments of “truth” we’ve made them out to be.  They are only our habitual thoughts.  They are only true for us, not universally true, and we are free to change them.”

      Thanks for the thoughts to chew on!

  • Lisa Watkins

    I’ve used My Fitness Pal off and on for about the past year or so. A few weeks ago our boot camp instructor issued a challenge that we use it every day for three weeks, so I did and have definitely seen a difference as a result. Tracking (especially consistently tracking) causes me to be more mindful about what I eat, and I think I actually enjoy what I eat more. I still eat ice cream, pizza, cupcakes, etc but not as often and when I do it goes in the app. Going to try to keep at it indefinitely.

    • Karena @ Traveling Well

      That’s great, Lisa! I agree, concistency is key. I’m making it my current goal to track for the full month of August. Let us know how your three weeks go!

  • Lisa Watkins


  • Lisa Watkins

    I’ve also been using My Fitness Pal. It definitely makes a big difference when I do it consistently

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