Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Tracking Works!

Okay I know there are commercials on TV that are currently taking subtle jabs at Weight Watchers (Kirstie Alley!!) and tracking.  And maybe you don't want to have to track every single bite of food that goes in your mouth.  But WHY NOT!  It works people, it really works.  I admit, I still do it the old fashioned way, by writing it down on paper.  But there are other options for the electronic crowd.  Online with eTools or the iPhone app.  I think there is even an option where you can just snap a photo of your meal.  Tedious?  Maybe.  But so was homework in high school, and where would we all be now if we hadn't spent hours and years learning to spell or writing out our multiplication tables.

I am posting about tracking today because I am happy to report that with it, my weight has finally started to move in the right direction.  Although I've been exercising like a crazy person since James started traveling, I haven't had much good news to report as far as my weight.  Now I can say after weighing this morning, I have officially lost 12 pounds since June 1st- James' first day on the road.  I have to backtrack and state that, right before he left, I had gained a few extra pounds- uhm, like five- because we had a few weekends out of town.  And one massive fancy steak dinner at Del Frisco's Grill courtesy of a $100 gift card that only paid for half of the meal.  So I was "up" more than normal anyhow when he left for his first week of travel.

For the first half of June, I was simply getting on the treadmill every day and trying to eat lighter, and to eat right.  But I wasn't tracking.  For three weeks, only those errant five pounds came off.  I became frustrated, especially on days when I would log 6 miles on the treadmill and not see any results.  So last week I started tracking, and tah-dah, seven pounds disappeared that quickly.  My weight is the lowest it's been for 2015, and I finally feel as though all the hard work is paying off.

It was eye-opening to say the least, once I started tracking and realized that wow, I was still overeating.  I was not measuring proper portions, and I was too heavy-handed with the condiments.  All those things add up easily.  Weight Watchers has come up with the points system scientifically, so every time I heap a tablespoon of something extra on my food, those are extra points.  Extra points equal extra pounds.  Yep it's a pain in the butt to measure out mayo every time I want to make a sandwich, but it's a bigger pain to watch my waistline expand more and more each year.

Some of the things I was eating that I thought were healthier alternatives, well, once I started calculating the points I had to step back.  My high fiber cereal was shockingly high in points, and frankly I didn't want to burn almost half my daily allotment on a bowl of cold cereal that tasted like cardboard to begin with.  When I decided to switch to toast instead, I quickly realized that our normal bread of choice was also very very high in points.  So even though I felt I was eating lighter, in terms of the amount of food, I was choosing things high in points.  And that's why the weight wasn't budging.

Although I do have a few trackers I bought at my meetings, I instead found a nice big spiral notebook and have since turned it into my own version of a tracker.  Instead of just three months, like the book from WW, this notebook is big enough to track for two years!  I've jazzed it up and made it fun to track by using colorful pens and stickers left over from my scrapbook supplies.  Anything to keep me calculating and writing it all down.

I'm still on that path of gaining over the weekend, when we go out and when I tend to be less active, but I seem to be gaining less and seem to be losing it quicker come Monday.  Part of it is James' current schedule- he's working nights right now so he's leaving on Sunday at lunch.  I have less time to overeat with him and more time to get back on the treadmill.

Right now I will continue with what I'm doing- the treadmill, tracking my points, using my Fitbit to get in my steps.  I think on their own, each component is certainly important but it's going to take all of it together to be successful.  I'll post again next week!