On Tuesday February 19th, I got on the scale as part of my morning routine. It wasn’t a huge surprise to see that I was out of my weight range. Between the holidays and the cook-a-thon in my kitchen during the snowstorms, I had put on 5 pounds. Just like I would encourage others to do, it was time to get back to self-monitoring by tracking my food choices. Yes, even as a dietitian, there is great value to tracking!
Self-monitoring means that you are observing and recording your eating and exercise patterns. It has been shown in many studies to be helpful for losing weight and maintaining weight loss. Some strategies for self-monitoring include food logs, self-weighing, and exercise trackers, like pedometers.
When I’m working with someone who is not where they want to be with their food intake or their weight range, my first recommendation is daily food tracking. This can be done electronically with smart phone apps or using paper logs. I prefer the Baritasic app*. The ease of being able to scan bar codes of food products and speak into my phone to create recipes makes this task simple.
Here are some reasons to give food tracking a chance:
- Weight Loss – People who track their food choices tend to lose more weight and do better with keeping the weight off than people who do not track.
- Awareness – Monitoring what and when you eat creates self- awareness. Sometimes we forget that calories add up from eating while standing in front of the refrigerator or grabbing an unplanned snack from the goodies in the breakroom. Food tracking can encourage you to sit down to enjoy your meal with mindfulness. It helps you to account for all of the foods and beverages you consume, even when you might want to forget some of them. 😉
- Nutrition Quality – Food tracking helps you to learn about the quality of your diet. You may be limiting calories but are you making the most of your food choices? Are you meeting your protein needs? Limiting added sugars? Eating plenty of produce? Drinking plenty of hydrating fluids? Making the best choices for managing blood sugars?
- Eating Quality of Life – Use the data to monitor how well food fuels you, when you feel hunger and fullness, how often you eat, whether you have non-hunger eating triggers, and whether you have food intolerances. We use this information to help you modify your nutrition plan to promote good health and satisfaction.
- Collaborate with RD – Tracking your food can lead to more productive appointments with your dietitian. The more pieces of the food puzzle we have, the better we can help you make adjustments to get you to your health goals and keep you there!
Start tracking and see the benefits for yourself! It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Even tracking a few times per week or a couple meals of the day can be helpful. Ask your dietitian to review your food logs at your next nutrition appointment. Help us to help you reach your health goals!
*If you are using the Baritastic app, connect with our clinic using the code 02263.