Tuesday, December 13, 2011

food log challenge

I've never logged what I eat.
For a while last year, when I first started weaning meat out of my diet, I kept track of how much protein I was getting, mostly to make sure I wouldn't waste away into nothingness.  At some point, I hit up my friend Heather for some food advice because I was feeling wonky, and she told me that I wasn't taking in enough calories to support the booty.  So I started roughly keeping a mental tally of calories, which was actually a really eye-opening experience because I had no idea how many calories were in most things (vodka has calories? how rude).  Still, I didn't do a formal tally, just a rough estimate throughout the day to make sure I was getting in enough and the right kind of delicious calories.
Fast forward a year.  As the distances get longer, nutrition becomes more and more important, both during exercise and after in recovery.  When I was in my last 70.3 training cycle, I was pretty careful most of the time (notice the absence of absolutes here) about what went in.  I spent the first few weeks of November solidly in my off-season diet wearing my off-season pants, but I only really enjoy that for a short time before I start craving veggies again.  
Last night my coach emailed us all with a challenge - log everything we eat between now and Christmas Eve, and send it to her every single day.  Yikes.
I did a pretty thorough cost:benefit analysis of the situation, and while it seems that horrifying someone I've just started working with is not really the most brilliant idea I've ever had, I've decided to do it because I think it will be really good for me.  And to make it even worse, I'm going to post it all here when it's over.  Nothing like telling the internet you'll do something to create a false sense of accountability.  I actually do think it's a great idea for the reasons she sent us - it's tough to keep your eating on track this time of year, and maybe I can figure out some things that I need more of in my diet (ice cream?) to help grow the Ironman monster.
So, starting today, I'm going to write down every single thing that goes in my mouth and in 2 weeks you'll get to see the list of it all.  I am NOT going to take pictures of it all because I think that's annoying, but I might document some of it.  We'll see.
Feel free to join me, although you don't win anything except the joy of putting your own diet under the microscope (neener neener neener).  Maybe it will be fun?
Have you ever kept any kind of food log?  How did that go?

40 comments:

  1. I have kept a food/exercise log for about a year and a half now, and have been pretty consistent with it - probably missing fewer than 20 days in that time. It helps me see what I am lacking or what habits I might want to change. That said, I would not want to share with my coach, or anybody, that I occasionally/often break out the dark chocolate with breakfast.

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  2. A) Someone is going to be disappointed that there are no ass shots in this photo
    B) there was a total TWSS in this post
    C) The FDA says that if there are at least two Tablespoons of red sauce on something, its a vegetable.
    D) a snickers bar with two tablespoons of red sauce is a vegetable

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  3. I started writing down everything I consume last January (I give myself "breaks" when I'm on vacation) and it has helped me so much. I've never really done it from a calorie counting perspective, but it has helped me figure out what I eat that helps fuel some of my greatest workouts, when I'm under fueling, what makes me feel like ass (sometimes it isn't just bad stuff), when I'm getting enough protein and carbs, etc. It's not always pretty, but in general it's made me a much more conscious and healthy eater!

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  4. How rude indeed!! :-) I've kept food logs off and on as needed when I feel myself getting off track. This last year I've been struggling with my diet and desperately need to make some changes before the bulk of my training starts... Good luck I'm excited to see what you post. I'll start mine up again but not sure I'll post it all.

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  5. Everything you put in your mouth? Yay for oversharing with friends AND your new coach and soon, the whole internet ;)

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  6. Ok. I'm seriously considering doing this...though I don't think I'd want to blog it. I could email it to you though if you want to see what awful things I eat... especially tomorrow during our cookie/snack party at work.

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  7. I did a food log when I was on Weight Watchers with a group of colleagues...it basically revealed that I under-eat Monday-Friday and then eat/drink like crap on weekends. I will be very interested to see what you learn!

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  8. I track my food on Spark People, or I did. I should probably start doing that again now that I'm getting back to a normal active lifestyle again. Good luck in your endeavors and I cannot promise you that I won't make fun of you mercifully for posting any food you might consume.

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  9. The IM monster is already pretty fierce. Just sayin'. :)

    I've pretty much never tracked calories except once when it was a required assignment, partly because I don't want to know and partly because it's a huge hassle and I get annoyed after one meal. But one of my goals for 2012 is to get a handle on what and how much I'm actually eating. So maybe I do this with you and really scare myself into getting my shit together?

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  10. Also, to Jon's point -- the government says pizza is a vegetable. So, basically, at least two of your weekly dinners consist entirely of veggies. You win.

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  11. I keep one to share with my nutritionist. I only do it when I am doing some serious training.

    I think it is really useful though!

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  12. Hah, I like being your resident Food "coach" (can I give myself that title? ;) ), but it sounds like your real coach has put you to the test!

    Vodka calories are so slutty.

    I find food journaling to be absurdly tedious, but it does point out things that we don't notice otherwise. And it makes you think twice before putting another handful of chocolate chips into your mouth - because you have to write it down, AGAIN. But, in all seriousness, I think you'll learn a Lot from this. :)

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  13. I don't understand... why no arse shots??

    No food log for me. IBS is a harsh mistress and it means my diet can be shitty (no pun intended, but it's a great one if I had meant it...) - but I seem to be doing ok. I am tempted to get a cholestrol test though.

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  14. I've tried to log my food before. I'll do really well for like 2 days then fall apart. I've used the app "Lose It" because you can put all your nutrition info I it and easily see what you are lacking at the end of the day.
    I'm in. Starting tomorrow. I'm making homemade enchiladas tonight and there are just too many ingredients to log! ;0)

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  15. I tracked calories (or points) for a long time. I think using an online tool makes it much easier since you probably spend a lot of time on the computer. It can definitely be an eye-opening experience.

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  16. Yes, i did it for a month. It confirmed what I thought about how much I was consuming, so it was more eye-opening to see how many choices I was making with little nutritious value. It guilted me into eating real meals instead of tasty snacks...

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  17. ohh! good luck! i can usually make it like a day...then i actually start getting overwhelmed at how much I truly eat. ummm oops!?! haha!

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  18. I'll be happy to help you eat many of the meals you're writing down. I'm a good friend like that.

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  19. I kept a food log when I tried to get down to race weight. I used Lose It online and on my phone which made it so much easier. Good luck!

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  20. I've done it on and off several times. It can be horrifying for sure. I was actually just thinking of starting that again myself. Not for internet posting though, I'm not that brave. More power to you!

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  21. since i just ate the most bizarre lunch ever i'm going to pass on this. but i will eat your food with my eyes, thankyouverymuch.

    btw, why did i think your coach was a dood? i'm confused. did you get a new coach and i missed that?

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  22. I think a photo documentry of your journey is in order. with butt shots and awesome expressions

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  23. I put keeping a food log firmly in the "I don't really want to know" category. ;o)

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  24. Never done it, although I KNOW it would be beneficial. Kind of like how I never track my miles in a journal.Just one more thing to do, even if they are good things! Good luck with it.

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  25. I go back and forth on the log. I'll do it when I first start training for something to make me accountable, but eventually, I am aware enough. (Until the season ends and recovery begins) and then it starts all over again!! Good luck, hope it works out for you! ;)

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  26. I attempted to track calories on SparkPeople for a while when I was (stereotype alert!) losing weight before my wedding. It worked from an accountability perspective, but god, that kind of thing does NOT seem set up for (snob alert!) a person who cooks. Like, log a McDonald's hamburger? One click. Log a piece of homemade lasagna that's like, 1.5 lasagna noodles, 1/3 of a carrot, ???? of cheese -- shoot me. Just recording the STUFF I ate and then giving it to someone more patient than I to parse would be awesome, though.

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  27. Is that last picture recent? Hot damn, you look great!! I suck at keeping a food log, but it's something I'd really love to master. Good luck! Can't wait to read about the results!

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  28. I kept a food log and ended up with anorexia. Seriously I did. But I don't blame the log! :-) I think if you can keep it and not obsess and don't let the log control you, then it can be an insightful exercise.

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  29. I'm a shitty workout logger and an even shittier food logger. I've done Spark People, my own hieroglyphics, etc. I stick for a few weeks then it fizzles away.
    I feel like I know exactly what to do, I just don't always do it.
    I'll be interested to see how this goes for you.
    : )

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  30. Never actually did a food log. I think the calorie counting thing always seemed like a pain, as I don't eat much out of a box. And to get an accurate count on stuff, I would have to weigh and measure every single thing I put into my dishes, and it just seems like a giant pain in the ass. I just try to go with moderation of real food, and that seems to keep me on track most times. But it does interest me to see how logging foods affects how you feel for workouts, etc. The whole thing just sounds SO exhausting.

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  31. A log of EVERYTHING that goes in my mouth.......damn I have to write Oreo x10 now. or do I write Oreo, Oreo, Oreo, Oreo, Oreo, Oreo, Oreo, Oreo, Oreo, Oreo

    I actually started mine two days ago and I needed to.

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  32. I've thought about keeping a food log, but always been a bit afraid of what I'd find out about myself. And having to send it to someone would really help with accountability. Good luck! I'm eager to hear how it goes! Nutrition is the #1 thing I want to work on next year (no more chocolate before breakfast dagnabbit!) so maybe a food log is the way to go...

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  33. NOT A CHANCE. It's eggnog season.

    Also, they don't make a piece of paper big enough to log my food intake. I eat like HORSE.

    My favorite photo in this post is definitely the butternut squash shot.

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  34. When I was losing weight last year I used trainingpeaks.com to log everything I ate for the first few months. Then the patterns started to develop and I knew without logging when I did something that didn't work. I also went almost entirely vegetarian, which was fantastic.

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  35. I used My Food Diary and lost 30 lbs back in 2005-06. Le sigh...it takes dedication! Need to get the motivation to do it again.

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  36. I'm doing it now. I started about a month ago when I did the Flat Belly Diet Jumpstart before vacation. I use the MyFitnessPal app, which makes it SOOOO easy. Pretty much everything is searchable and you can scan the UPC codes and all the data will automatically populate.

    Wins: I am MUCH more mindful about putting something in my mouth. I actually stop to think if I'm hungry or just bored before mindlessly eating.

    I've learned a lot about what a serving size is and how I was pretty much ignoring that up until now.

    I have lost 7 pounds in a month, and I'm not deprived. I eat 1800-2000 calories a day (I'm very active, as you are) and I'm still losing. Because of the log, I tend to eat less junk and more "real" food.

    Good luck!

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  37. I'm honestly kind of surprised that this would be encouraged across the board. For me tracking my food, both when I wanted to lose weight and when I didn't, invited obsessive thoughts, comparisons, and feeling guilty about what I ate. I might have had a better diet but mentally it really wasn't worth it. hopefully it will be more beneficial for you!

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  38. I started tracking my food/calories a few years ago, and at first it was great... but THEN, like Kristin, it progressed into kind of disordered behavior. At the end of the night, I would tally my calories and then force myself to eat something to hit my total if I wasn't at it yet (even if I wasn't hungry), or I would try to restrict calories the next day if I had eaten too many the previous day (even if I WAS hungry). I found it took me away from eating for how I FELT and just made me so focused on the numbers that I went a little crazy. I think a lot of it depends though on whether you are a numbers person and how obsessive you tend to be. I am totally Type A and a perfectionist who feels guilty if I don't do the "right" thing, so that method just didn't work for me!

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