Food Accountability

How much are you really eating?

I asked myself that question today when I was putting my food into my WW online tool. YES I signed up for WW in early January. NO I am NOT going to be tracking my weight. Instead I am only going to be tracking my measurements each week. That’s it. I haven’t been putting my food into the journal…until today. I knew that I had been eating too much. I could feel it.

I put all of the food that I have eaten today and 55 points screamed at me. FIFTY FIVE…omg. Don’t panic…cause I didn’t send myself into a binging episode–thank god. Instead I said ‘That’s interesting, no wonder you’ve been feeling full all of the time’.

I am accountability addict. I need, desire, want to be accountable. I need the accountablity of writing down my food. I just need to be writing down what I eat. Points are secondary and weight isn’t even going to play into the picture.

Is writing your food important if you’re trying to lose weight and/or get fit?

After adjusting for race, gender, and initial weight, greater weight loss was associated with more frequent attendance at the group sessions, number of food records kept per week, and minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week. These findings provide additional evidence that these standard behavioral strategies are key for successful weight loss. (source ‘click on: study’)

There are some people in the blog world who are struggling a bit right now with weight gain. There has been much discussion about points/calories etc. I think that there’s a happy balance whereby being accountable to yourself for what you’ve eaten through writing it down and/or taking a picture of it can help you jumpstart getting fit and staying healthy.

I am not here to point bash you. I am just sayin’ that writing down is something that I need. It’s been proven scientifically in the above study and countless times again.

What tools do you use to keep you accountable?


36 thoughts on “Food Accountability

  1. Joanna Sutter says:

    I am a big believer in food and fitness journaling. IT WORKS! My favorite tool of all times (and trust me, I’ve use a lot of journals and online programs in my day!) is fitbook.

    fitbook is a 12 week food and nutrition journal. It’s well organized and well designed and fits in a gym bag, a purse, a briefcase so it can easily go where ever you go.

    Check it out: http://www.getfitbook.com

  2. Spiceaholic says:

    When I’m being accountable, the key word being “when,” I am either tracking online at WW or on Sparkpeople or both.

    I’m just now getting back on track and while I haven’t been diligent about tracking, I’ve been taking photos and posting them on my blog. So a visual journal, if you will.

    Awesome site, by the way! I can’t wait to read more.

    • Mish says:

      Thanks for stopping by. I am attaching my camera to my hip. I always do better when I am accountable for food…for everything.

  3. amanda says:

    I also agree with Joanna….about the food and fitness journal. I myself use plain old paper but I have been known to use an excel spreadsheet. Super easy to set up. I believe if you don’t at least track your food intake you can “forget” about what you ate and then like you said all of sudden ended up with 55 points!!

    • Mish says:

      isn’t that the truth. I made these mini muffins today…and eat about eight of them..they’re mini — they’re 2pts each. 🙂 it all adds up.

  4. Jenelle says:

    Knowledge is power! And when you know what’s going in you can really focus on making food work for you. Food journaling is something I picked back up this month. Even on weekends (mostly). It helps me a lot because I have a tendency to make general observations about my day in addition to writing down what I eat/how much I exercise. More often than not, my feelings that day always show through in what I ate. I can look back and recognize what causes overeating and try to fix it. Thankfully, most of this month has been pretty positive 🙂

    I log at peertrainer.com and with my handy dandy LoseIt iPhone app (LOVE it because I can keep it in my pocket!).

  5. Reluctant Blogger says:

    I have never done WWs so I have no idea about points and I am rather glad about that. It’s not the way I want to think about food. But I do know that it works for people – I have seen people succeed with it.

    I think with weight you have to find a way that works for you (and yeah – you have to go through a whole host of ways that don’t work or work a bit before you find it).

    I am kind of the opposite to you – I am lucky in that i don’t have a sweet tooth (big advantage in life) but I do weigh myself every morning just as a check, so that I never get off course. I don’t worry about small variations though. But I don’t really think about the foods I eat – but I do try to only eat when I am hungry and stop when I am full.

    I think your fuel thing is great – I am trying to think that way. And yes, I guess keeping a record fits in with that, doesn’t it? Your fuel intake against mileage travelled. I could handle that.

    I’m sorry about yesterday. I only just read that post. I hope you are OK? Please don’t give yourself a hard time. These things happen – the general trend you are on is good, the occasional slippage is just that.

    Have a lovely weekend xxxx

  6. Brenda says:

    I must write down everything I eat every day. I find it the only way to stay in my calorie range, and helpful to make sure I am getting the most out of the calories I choose too. Right now I am noticing that I need to be adding more vegetables in my daily intake.

  7. Losing Weight Daily says:

    I was on Weight Watchers Online for a while and did my best to journal food and such, and would do okay for a little while, but I think for me the major problem was convenience. WW doesn’t (or didn’t) have a convenient enough way for me to enter my food as I ate it over the day; I had to log onto their site all the time and at the office was a little self conscious about their logo on my screen. So I’d have to remember later what I ate that day which wasnt’ easy (in itself that was probably a problem). The other problem for me was finding the foods in their system – it just took me too long to deal with. BUT I learned a lot from the process and found the program invaluable at the time.

    I’ve been tracking my food intake for the last week or so. I found that if I was going to track food, I needed two things. It needed to be incredibly convenient, and I needed to be incredibly honest. So I set up another Twitter account and use my iPhone’s twitter app to tweet every thing I eat over the day (‘cept water). It’s been a breeze. And those nights I binge, I tweet it. I don’t want to, but if I don’t tweet the binges then I can have no confidence in the whole thing. And just for an extra measure of accountability I have the food log tweets being pulled and published onto my blog for all to see.

    I’ve been at it for a week and it feels good to look back and see that I’ve been making (mostly) healthy choices.

      • Losing Weight Daily says:

        Thanks 🙂 Yup WW has got one now, they were just slower to do new tech while I was actively a member. Great program though. But being a technonerd i like grabbing the twitter feed and making it public on my blog, makes me feel even more accountable.
        cheers 🙂

  8. Buttercup says:

    Before I started on the weight loss program that I am now doing I never kept very good records of my food. But last August or so I began to keep track of what I was eating and the calories, but I was not very consistent with it.

    Now I track everything in a small notebook that I carry with me everywhere because I have to report what and how much I have eaten for the week, how much and what exercise was done, how much water I drank, and if I took all of the vitamins and fiber that I need to take. It has opened my eyes up to when I eat and how much more active I need to become to get the other 91.5lbs off of my body. I have also begun meal planning (literally started this two days ago) and will see how that goes.

    I think that even once I get to where I want to be weight wise I will continue keeping track of what I am eating and doing. My husband tracks all of his food and exercise on his iphone using a free application called LoseIt and he seems to like it – just in case anyone out there wants another way to track.

    • Mish says:

      Thank you for sharing that. Has your husband lost weight? Changes his body since doing that? I’d really like to know. Good on you for losing all that weight, it’s such an amazing feeling.

  9. eaternotarunner says:

    I used to count calories and that was how i originally lost weight. Now I just try to keep a mental account of what I am eating and where I am for the day…

    • Mish says:

      I never counted calories…but points yes. I like the idea of being mentally accountable and I hope that is where I am heading.

  10. megzzwinsatlife says:

    I use to do weight watchers.. and one day I used 80 points and I am only allowed 21 a day!! The next day I used 65 and so on.. It is tough.. My mom is a lifetime member and it worked wonderfully for her.. You can do anything you set your mind to Mish!! We are here to support you!

    • Mish says:

      Thanks megzz. I am really going to focus on just eating…but writing it down. If I go over or under I am not going to freak out like I used to. More of just a checkin. 80 points is impressive..and it’s easy to do..believe me 🙂

  11. Jenn says:

    I did WW, seems like ages ago. And it worked to lose weight but now that I have learned so much more about food and health, I question the realities of WW. They say you can eat anything you want as long as it fits into your point range,,, is it really healthy to eat 21 points of cake and cookies in a day instead of wholesome food? I now am of the philosophy that I want great health, not a magic number on the scale or measuring tape. If I feed my body well and feel great, life is better! By the way, I got injured a few months ago and had to cut out a lot of exercise I was doing. I thought the weight would come pouring back on but it didn’t because of these new principles I have adopted.
    Instead of eating the same stuff (crap) I used to eat, I have changed the WAY I eat and prepare food. I make things with whole, natural ingredients (and still get sweets that taste great). I eat when I am hungry now because my body and mind have learned to recognize my body’s different cries (is it hunger or thirst, or fatigue?). When I eat, I ask myself first:
    Is this feeding my body or my mouth?
    I have decided to treat my body like I would my kids or loved one. My body needs fuel and I only have one body so I do my best now to treat it right! I dont count anything, I just make sure it is wholesome.

    If you would like some of my wholesome and delicious recipes, or you think this approach to loving your body and fueling it well makes sense, check out our website and sign up for our free newsetter. Always full of great tips, tools and recipes for feeding your body well! It’s the GENTLE shift to AMAZING health!
    http://www.bundlesofenergy.com

    Jenn

  12. Marisa (Loser for Life) says:

    Well, I think you know how I feel about this! LOL! I agree with you completely. Accountability, journaling, writing it down is all about being honest with yourself. It was always my “ace in the hole” when I started WW 2 1/2 years ago. It was the one tool that kept me on track. I was big on the BLT’s (bites, licks and tastes) and once I started journaling, I realized how often during the day those mindless BLT’s happen. Just knowing that I have to write those down, often keeps me from doing that and brings me back to awareness.

    To use a Mish-ism…”Good on you!” for bringing back the journal! (It makes me smile everytime you write that comment to me!)

    • Mish says:

      Thank you for understanding my accountability need. There was a comment from Katy about being accountable to your body and frankly that is my ultimate goal. However, if I don’t get there..that’s fine. Good on ya is SO australian. 🙂

  13. missyrayn says:

    I need to see the points or food to be accountable. Even if I just write down what I’m eating when I can’t get to the tracker it helps me slow down and think about what I’m eating.

    I’m glad that you recognize this and movied forward instead of binging. Congrats!

  14. love2eatinpa says:

    it’s great that you recognized there was a problem and sat down to see where you stood.
    i’m a calorie counter, have been for more years of fingers and toes that i have to count on. even when the numbers were astronomically high, i still counted. now that i’m trying to maintain my weight, i’m still counting. i know that it’s a form of control and goes hand-in-hand with my compulsive eating and i need at some point to eat intuitively and listen to my body, but it’s REAL hard to let go of the counting. i do use it for accountability, but also, i don’t want to lose or gain any weight and am afraid to trust myself to eat without counting. guess that makes me an accountability addict too. 🙂

  15. Tay says:

    Journaling is MUST for me to lose weight. Even though it became obsessive last time, I’m trying not to let it get to that point this time. Without journaling, I eat WAY more than I realize!

  16. Hope @ Hope's Journey says:

    I would definitely agree that keeping track of your food is a great tool, and certainly keeps you accountable. I recently decided to start tweeting what I’m eating. I tend to be a little of a “if no one saw me eat it, than I didn’t really eat it” kind of girl, and I have a fear of people judging what I’m eating, so I’m trying to get over my fears, as well as being accountable to myself.

  17. KatieP says:

    The fundamental problem is “how do I know how many points/calories my body need today?”

    Do I need extra to repair the muscles I broke down in the gym? Do I need less because I’m just not that hungry today? Am I pre-menstrual and starving?

    The problem is not in the recording but in making a decision about what is the right amount based on some book or program. We can never out-think our body’s wisdom if we are truly listening.

    I do not track because it is knowledge that gives me a false sense of being in ‘control’. The very control that triggers rebellious over-eating.

    It is frightening at first because you do eat too much when you legalise food and take the rules away, but there does come a point when you eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full and the excess weight starts slipping away without any effort at all.

    Accountability is not necessary – am I accountable for my breathing, for sleeping, for meditating? These things are part of who I am as is the way I nourish and care for my body through the way I eat. Accountability is a concept reserved for making yourself motivated to do something you’d rather not and suggests reward and punishment.

    Be free from the rules, the struggle and will power – when you trust and love yourself you can look forward to feeling both empowered and at peace with food.

  18. cbrazas says:

    I have only lost weight and maintained weight by monitoring how many calories I take in. I think that monitoring and restricting are different. I have a goal that I try meet. If I go over one day, I go over. But if I go over everyday for a week, I need to make some changes in what I’m eating. That usually boils down to eat less junk eat more veggies. Also, for the most part I don’t “count” during the day. At the end of the day, I take stock of what I have eaten. It’s what works for me.

    Great job doing Yoga instead of other options. 🙂

  19. gemfit says:

    I’m not a tracker (it drives me straight into obsession) BUT I do advocate tracking for a couple of days at a time to get an idea of where your food is coming from. SO often my mother tells me how “good” she’s been but she’s not losing weight. When I told her to write everything down for 2 days, she realised that she was snacking constantly and that’s why she wasn’t losing any weight.

    Two or three days is all I can do before I go obsessive but it helps for sure!

    • Mish says:

      I think that’s a really good point and I have to keep myself in check with this. It’s finding that fine line of balance and to be honest I am no pro. I was telling my friend ‘you can gain weight eating healthy food’…

  20. Laura says:

    Hi
    I’m Laura.
    I just found your blog & wanted to introduce myself.

    I have kept a food diary from day one & will keep one until the day I die. I love knowing what i’ve eaten & where I’ve gone wrong

    • Mish says:

      Thank you for stopping by. I think the thing which has helped me and perhaps will help is not to look at food as bad. It will help you not overeat when you want to eat ‘bad’ food.

  21. alanna says:

    hi there – i just discovered your blog via another prior fat girl, and how inspiring! i think it’s amazing that you did not binge when you’d added up all of those calories! i know myself and i would have been spending loads at the vending machine, figuring that day was already a loss. that is SO impressive that you just reassessed your situation! i can’t wait to start following your blog. i don’t think my comment links to mine, but it’s http://www.sparklesandsundresses.blogspot.com … have a great day!

  22. All Women Stalker says:

    I think that being accountable for the things you do is a great way to stick to a commitment. Food journaling is definitely a great way to be aware of what goes into your body. Eating can sometimes be very automatic for me. If I write down my food for the day, I am conscious of what they are and how much of them are entering my body. To keep accountable, I try to write down a meal plan when I can. And I will stick to it. It’s really easy for me because I have a job and don’t have the liberty to pig out and eat any time. On weekends, it’s about the same story though sometimes I overeat.

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