Phase three: Learn about food and track what I’m eating
Ok now we’re getting into the weight loss aspects of things…BUT even if you don’t need to loose weight this is important. Skinny people can be unhealthy too ya know?
Let’s get it out there – who wants to track everything they eat raise your hand…is this thing on? Yeah I thought so, either did I. And I fought it like I was fighting the hounds of hell. But ultimately I was excited that I was loosing weight and I knew I could loose more, I really wanted to loose more!! I felt better, I felt lighter, I could work out easier than before, why wouldn’t I keep going. And therefore I needed to KNOW what I was eating and how much.
Let’s get real, calorie counters
Calorie counting calculators are a pain in the ass. There I said it! Here’s what you do – add your height, weight, goal weight and how much you want to loose a week (1lb or less a week is healthy), easy enough…then!!! THEN!! How active are you. Sedentary? Well no I don’t sit all day so that’s not me. Lightly active? Well maybe I don’t know. Moderately active? Well ok how is that different from lightly active, which am I? Extremely active? Well what does that mean, I’m not training for Ironman or anything like that??? Then there are these descriptions by each one – which are kinda maybe somewhat helpful…????
I still don’t have it figured out, I’ll be honest. At this point I work out about an hour a day for 5 days of the week and then do some kind of low activity the other two, but during the day I’m up and about fairly regularly. I do sit and I do sleep so lightly vs moderately???? I don’t know. So go with the one you feel fits the best, I think if you workout like 3-5 times a day at a moderate pace lightly active maybe helpful for you, if you super hard then moderately active may be the one. If you have a physical job and you are working out like a maniac then the extremely active is for you. If you sit at a computer all day, then sit at home and aren’t working out – sedentary – which you have bigger problems than your calories so….
So I can’t say I am a fan of calorie counting – GASP – I know, stone me later ok let me get through this post. But it does help in the tracking and I am a fan of tracking my food, seeing what I ate and how much. It helps bring awareness to what you are doing. Most of us can easily delude ourselves or honestly think we are eating pretty well. And yet we don’t feel any better, we aren’t loosing weight etc. So then you go the feast and famine route and still no change – it’s frustrating, amen?
There are several ways to track. Pen and paper (yes those items do still exists in obscure stores across America) and that works great – there is a book called a Fit Book that I love (I mean LOVE)- you can find it online or target in the fitness section. You can write out your goals, your workouts and your foods. It’s very handy and fun!! You can write notes all over the place, track whether you earned your reward you set etc. And no internet connection required. There is also MyPlate by Livestrong, and MyFitnessPal and several others. If you like the pen and paper method there is a book called the Calorie King that may help if you want to track those. I think they have an online tool too but I have no experience with it.
When we discuss macro-nutrients I’ll talk more on these calculators (you just wet your pants with excitement didn’t you), for now any one will do. You can find free ones on your phone, Ipad etc.
But just start with something, I don’t care what, and try it for two weeks, just to at least track what kind of food you’re eating.
You won’t have to do this forever, remember this is one phase of changing who you have become, this is a tool to help you incorporate all kinds of awesome habits. I can literally look at something now and gauge what’s in it, how much calories sugar and fat and what a portion size REALLY is, I wasn’t able to do that before taking this step!
Learning about Foods
So when I started writing things down I started learning about foods and labels. Things like whole wheat isn’t the same as whole grain isn’t the same as sprouted grain. I got a cold hard look at how many calories were in my beloved maple syrup I was putting on my oatmeal, and how much fat was in that half and half that went into my coffee. The biggest eye opener was I was eating a lot of sugar!!! I mean I’m not even a sugar freak, my sweet tooth is pretty small, give me salty any day. But between whatever I added to foods and what already was in certain foods, it was adding up.
I also noticed what kind of crap was in seemingly “healthy” foods. Like some protein bars, they have ingredients that I don’t even know what it is and I don’t care! Skip them, they aren’t worth your time. I also noticed how much soy is in certain foods – ugh, it’s most likely been created in a lab then and I don’t want it. So just because it’s a health food doesn’t mean its REAL food. This is called clean eating, eating foods that are as close to its natural state as possible. This is why the only bars I can say taste great and are good in the label department are Larabars and Kind bars.
You’ll hear some fitness and health bloggers talk about clean eating then they rattle off all kinds of packaged foods they ate that day – well that’s a different kind of clean eating. That’s really called “eating on program” as they are eating according to whatever nutrition guidelines they are following at the time, not eating junk food basically. Real clean eating is eating foods as close to their natural state as possible – like veges, meat, fruit, etc.
How does all this affect weight loss and health
Well once again you are nourishing your body. You are also getting rid of refined foods, sugars etc. You are more aware and in control of what you are eating. That stubborn middle that wont go away is melting because you aren’t eating processed foods.
Your also visiting the porcelain throne more, let’s just get this out there. Yes you’ll get gassy and poopy, and that’s good. That’s how it gets out of your body. But I will interject something here. Your gut might be torn up from years of eating processed foods. Suddenly your eating well but you’re hurting a little. This happened to me, I found some supplements that helped me. L Carnitine , L Glutamine and Probiotics. All are found in food, but usually not the amounts you really need. L Carnitine and L Glutamine can help break down fatty cells – yay for cholesterol, but can also help repair your gut. It helped me, it may or may not help you – we’re all rather different in this aspect. If you need help here research!!
How does all this help? Well it helps you decide 1. do I really want to eat it knowing it is “xyz” or if I do want to eat it should I maybe have a smaller portion because it has “xyz” in it? It will also help you load up on some of the foods that you know will help you in the long run!
So that’s if for phase three, fairly straight forward. You can only evaluate your diet when you are 100% honest and aware, you can only learn when you actually take the initiative to do it! So go for it, why not?
Remember I’m not a dietician only sharing what helped me! If you are on medicines find out if supplements and certain foods will affect those medicines. Then one day you’ll hopefully be off those meds!!!