Fat to Fit: Is tracking calories right for you?

While most people who want to lead a healthy life know the basics of weight loss, for many, it is easier to stay on track if they see a log of everything they have consumed.

The other day in my Quinntessential Health Facebook Group we were discussing connecting with each other using MyFitnessPal, when one of our great members asked a very good question about MyFitnessPal, and apps similar to it.

"Does it share how many calories I ate today or something? Why would I want to share that? Help me understand?"

I had never thought about the actual question before, because any time I have ever attempted weight loss, I always tracked. I have tracked using Weight Watchers, Spark People, and lastly, MyFitnessPal, which seems to be the best fit for me.

Not wanting to leave her question unanswered though, I decided that I was going to make a list of the Top 10 reasons people track, and the social aspect of it all.

  1. myfitnesspalUsing an application like MyFitnessPal is not just about counting calories, it is also about being able to track your nutritional information to make sure you are eating well, not just low-calorie. For example, my app tracks my potassium and sodium intake. 
  2. According to the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, keeping a journal of your food intake can help double your weight loss.
  3. Using a public app provides access to a database of foods that you would otherwise not know the nutritional values of immediately. This makes eating out a lot easier.
  4. MyFitnessPal, Weight Watchers, and other applications allow you to connect with a core group of friends, family, and supporters who can see your progress. While your skinny friends may not care of about that .2 pounds you lost this week, the friends that are going through the same struggle will see that update and cheer you on because they know how hard you worked.
  5. The log assists you in getting help. If you get stuck in a routine, sometimes sharing the journal will allow your connections to give you advice on substitutions you can make and still be eating healthy. (Please note that most applications also give you the option to keep your journal private, while still sharing goals and weight loss milestones.)
  6. Keeping a log also allows you to go back and see where you went wrong. If you notice that you quit losing weight, or even started gaining, go back through your logs and see what has changed to cause this shift in your journey.
  7. Tracking also allows you to enjoy more food. Sometimes, the things we are want are not as unhealthy as we think. Looking up that slice of pizza may result in you getting to enjoy one of your favorite foods, instead of just saying you are never eating pizza again, which almost always fails.
  8. Tracking can become a game and make losing weight fun. I truly enjoy tracking my food. I think of it as a game, and it makes me do better.
  9. Knowing that my goals are public, and my connections can see them, makes me less likely to cheat. This is one of the ways I try to ensure that I stay on track regularly, instead of having the yo-yo effect on my weight.
  10. The best reason to track is because you want to, and it helps you. If you do not enjoy tracking, or find it doesn't work for you, then do not do it. Nothing works unless you want it to.

Do you track?

If so, what do you use to track?

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Filed under: Health

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    David W. Quinn

    Former fatty. Wannabe health nut. Writer, photographer, fabulous homosexual. Trying to live a better life. Join me on my journey!

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