<Editor’s Note: I struggled with drafting this post – mostly because I find I have a much harder time putting into words just how food logging has impacted me in a positive way, so hopefully this post makes sense to you guys when you read it!>
One of the things I’m really digging so far about being a FitFluential Ambassador is the great conversations we can have on Facebook (private group) – it’s opened my eyes to some awesome new perspectives and introduced me to some pretty fab people, I must say.
One of the topics that came up recently was about food logs – where to get started, which apps are best for tracking, etc. One of the questions on that thread was around the “reason” or “motivation” to calorie count – beyond the obvious one: weight loss.
It got me to thinking – why do I log? I’m the one who tends to avoid anything that has to do with numbers (fitness-wise) yet here I am a huge fan of the food log and calorie counting. I’m even hosting a whole Fitblog Chat (Feb 7, mark your calendars!) on the topic of the “numbers game” yet the food log is one where the metrics and tangible aspect of it really works for me.
So, here it is — my (attempted) answer to the question: “Why I log”
The long and short of it? It works for me. And to be honest, I was SO hesitant to return to food logging when I started the barre n9ne 60-day challenge last May. I feared that it would take the “fun” out of eating, that I’d feel too restricted, that I’d lose that balance in my life that I so, SO craved. That I’d lose a part of me.
But what I learned instead? That I was *not* living a very balanced life prior to the start of the challenge (and my subsequent return to food logging), even though I fooled myself into thinking I was. I was way, way, way overdoing it every single weekend — not just a “cheat day” but a “cheat weekend” or “cheat week” were perfectly normal and acceptable to me. I worked my ass off all week at the gym and ate well during the week (albeit probably consuming more calories during the week than I needed, even if it was all healthy foods). But once the weekend hit? No holds barred eating/drinking fest. And I wondered why all the hard work I put in all week, spending hours at the gym, wasn’t resulting in a fitter body.
It wasn’t until I learned to embrace the food log as a tool for a healthier me, that I finally found the balance I thought I had before. And guess what? Food logging doesn‘t steal the joy out of food for me (because I still very much find joy in good food and a good glass of wine) – my biggest fear.
Instead, food logging has empowered me:
…I now have a MUCH better understanding of what my body needs (and doesn’t need), calories-wise (I eat the same number of calories everyday, weekends included, long run days included)
…I’m so much more in tune with my body’s hunger cues (and lack of cues) than ever before.
…I’ve learned to eat until I’m satisfied – and I understand how satisfied “feels” – versus eating until I’m done (two very different things).
…I now know how to plan ahead if I’m going out to dinner (where calories are harder to manage) or to a party or just plain ‘ol want a few glasses of wine during date night. Eating lighter during the day (without starving myself, don’t worry) so I can have a few glasses of wine with Scott later that night, for example.
…I understand how to eat for fuel, particularly during long run days (which will become even more important once I start training for Chicago!) and also how to recover, post-run.
…and most importantly, I still very much enjoy the foods that I love – even the supposedly “unhealthy” ones like my beloved dove chocolates or our famous homemade thick-crust pizza, so I never feel deprived or as though I’m on a diet. Remember – this is my year of no boundaries, right? 😉
Bottom line? I log for me. Was it easy to get here? Of course not. It took adjusting to a consistent number of calories everyday, no wild peaks and valleys. But now that I’m here? It’s helped me to find an incredible sense of balance that I’ve never had before. And I dig that. I also dig that my clothes fit better (um, smaller?) and that I never, ever wake up with a food hangover (worst feeling everrr).
Food doesn’t drive me anymore. I drive me. How empowering is that?