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LauraSuzy

should I track what I eat?

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I'm considering starting this thing, despite my love of all things made with grains, in hopes of getting a good night's sleep for once and feeling alive during the day. I'm going to need to keep reading the testimonials for encouragement!

I know I don't need to count calories, but should I track what I'm eating so I can get a better handle on what works well for my body? Or just follow the plan and leave that part out to keep it simple? I can imagine it would be a good idea after the Whole30 to track things if I'm adding other foods back in at all.

Thanks for helping the newbie!

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I think keeping a basic journal of what you're eating and how you're feeling is a fine idea. Just don't bother trying to count or weigh or measure things. Good luck! you can do it!

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I really love that people are logging their food journals here. I like that if or when they are not feeling just right or they are tired or for some reason not hungry we can take a look and offer suggestions. It is also a good way to stay accountable.

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I've used www.paleotrack.com and like it. You can enter all your info in there and since it's geared towards paleo, the emphasis is more on whether a meal was grain/sugar/dairy free than how many calories were in it. (Although you can see those numbers, too.)

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Journaling your food, cravings, moods, and noticable changes is a wonderful process, from an accountability, motivational, and awareness perspective. But I really, really, strongly dislike services like www.paleotrack.com, that count, measure, and spit out "analysis" about your overall diet and success.

The point of the Whole30 is to change your relationship with food, heal the gut, reduce systemic inflammation, restore a healthy metabolism. Sites like these keep you focused on numbers that, truthfully, don't mean a darn thing in terms of any of those health metrics. You don't need to worry about calories, 6:3 ratio, fiber grams, or any such nonsense during your program, and you certainly don't need a computerized system passing judgment about whether you're "strict paleo" or not!

During your Whole30, focus on the food, the mealtime experience, your body's signals, the results. If you choose to track your food after your Whole30, that's entirely up to you... but there's a reason that tracking/logging/weighing/measuring made our top five list of "most common errors for first-time Whole30'ers."Best,

Melissa

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I call weighing and measuring and tracking the "dark place" of health and nutrition. I've gone through periods of what basically amount to eating disorders where I was hyper focused on tracking to a point of it totally disrupting my life and enjoyment of food which is stress I don't need!

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I got the scales out yesterday so I could portion up a huge batch of sweet potato I had cooked. Reading this makes me realise that it was the first time I've weighed food since January. And this comes from someone who used to have their cereal bowl on the scales measuring out muesli :(

I'd much rather spend my time researching and cooking great recipes than being a slave to the scales (kitchen or bathroom!)

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I weighed and measured my food for a year and even committed my food and felt okay doing that for a year then emotionally ate an apple and felt like I failed and went WAY off the rails.

So I am going to follow the Whole 30 and throw my scales (food and body) out the window and work on being present at my meals and establishing a better relationship with food not one of punishment and reward but nourishing my body healthfully.

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I am going to keep this thread on a reading rotation. Tracking is my nemesis. My fitness coach says TRACK To make progress. I track and I lose my mind ultimately. I literally saw the light yesterday in that I full believe I have crossed into the light side (to pick up on what Johnny said above). I am finding fulfillment in eating. A little scary but totally awesome. One tiny bit at a time I suppose is a heck of a lot better than living under that dark shadow, or worse, that rock, I used to be under.

Homer and out.

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In the past I've also weighed and tracked obsessively. It makes me crazy.

I write a day's worth of food in my log occasionally, but generally I don't track. If I thought I was having a specific problem with a food then I likely would track when I ate that and how I felt for a few days afterwards.

I like to eat when I'm hungry and then feel good. :)

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I call weighing and measuring and tracking the "dark place" of health and nutrition. I've gone through periods of what basically amount to eating disorders where I was hyper focused on tracking to a point of it totally disrupting my life and enjoyment of food which is stress I don't need!

This is my favorite part of the W30. I was being a complete jerk to everyone I love--especially my boyfriend while I was carb cycling paired with myfitnesspal. I was a mess! Measuring cups, food scales, timing, counting it was awful! I was so worked up and stressed about my numbers being perfect I was hurting my body in the process. I feel so free and happy to eat real food.

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Well, I used MyFitnessPal the first week or so to see how what I was eating compared to what I used to eat. I didn't track before I ate, only after, I estimated portions, and I didn't use any of the data I saw in there as a reason to change what I was eating. I was just curious about what percentage of fat, carbs and protien I was eating. Pretty amazing how before it was 50% (or more) carbs and now it's usually 30% or less (and all from good fruits and veggies)! I have no idea if that's the goal but right now I'm content.

It IS so freeing to not track! I am feeling a tiny bit impatient to see if my weight will go down, though! I consider it a good sign that I have a renewed interest in doing exercise and weight training.

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I think posting here helps keep me on track. If I slip, I have to describe it to all of you in my food log. This puts me in a troubleshooting mindset (what did i learn, and how can this be prevented next time) instead of a beat-myself-up mindset.

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I tracked at first, partly out of honest curiosity about how many calories and the balance of macro-nutrients I was eating. The other part was trying to still rely on external controls to keep me in check rather than listening to my body. It took a couple weeks, but I've broken the habit. I realized I was thinking too much about the numbers, to the point of forcing myself to eat when I wasn't really hungry because MyFitnessPal was saying I was low in something for the day. Since I stopped tracking, I'm feeling much better emotionally, and I've noticed even more improvements in my health.

Staying off the scale has been a much harder habit to break, but I'm working at it!

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I am so grateful for this thread!

I am a lifetime member of weight watchers. They advocate logging and points and counting and if I didn't do it (which I rarely did) I felt like a complete failure and as someone said above, I completely "Went off the rails".

I have had food, allergy and body issues my entire life and I adore eating Paleo. I've done it for about a year and came in kicking and screaming! I did not want this and yet my health was deteriorating rapidly.

I have never really had any guidance with the "how this works" in Paleo, so chose to do the Whole30 because I've hit a plateau that I can't seem to break through. And I want to learn more about my body and and the food i put into it!

I am a master at self sabotage and I will tell you true that if I was required to track, weigh & measure I just wouldn't be here. Diets work that way, not lifestyles. I figured out a long time ago that this behavior does not serve me or my health.

So thank you again for your posts. Thank you Melissa for being my whole9 hero today and telling it like it is!

I am so excited to be doing something that feels good for me and at 52 yrs. of age I am relieved to say that I know longer feel like this is a struggle. Ahhhh bliss.

Warmly Lindy

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Lindy - I know exactly how you feel. I think I was more drawn to paleo in the beginning for the mere fact that I wouldn't have to log anything!

I only wrote down what I ate during my Whole30 (and now, afterward while I try some re-introductions). For the most part, I didn't write down how much of anything and I certainly didn't add anything up. I find writing down the foods I eat helps me in two ways. 1) It helps me know if I start to feel particularly good or particularly bad...what may have caused it and 2) as I got to the end of my Whole30, the food lists from the beginning gave me some ideas about things to eat that I'd forgotten about or recipes I hadn't made in awhile. Because I'm not tracking any numbers or doing any totaling, it does not feel like logging at all.

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If anyone really feels a need to use a tracker for some reason, Recovery Record might be a good option. I haven't personally used it, but I've heard good things. It's a food/mood/etc. tracking app intended for people in recovery from disordered eating. It's all based on being kind to your body and taking care of yourself. It might be useful for a non-numbers driven tracking app http://recoveryrecord.com/

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I decided that I wanted to keep track of a few things during my W30 (and possibly beyond). I want to log what I'm eating but also want to track my physical activity, etc. I do CrossFit and martial arts and haven't been able to go all out since March due to a couple of surgeries so now (or in a few weeks, when I am cleared to lift etc. at 100% again) I really want to go all out and get everything back that I lost (and lose what I gained!).

I found a pretty cool app for my iPhone and iPad (they sync through the iCloud so that makes it pretty convenient) called My Wonderful Days. It's just a basic journal but has a cool little feature where you use a sliding scale to show, in the form of a smiley face, what kind of day you had, overall. It's a really cute app.

The reason I like this is that, unlike the diet trackers, there's no dealing with finding foods, measuring or weighing, tracking calories or macronutrients, etc. All of that drives me crazy and, of course, most of them are going to tell us we are not getting the right macronutrient numbers anyway since they are generally based on SAD diet recommendations. So I just looked for a journal and this one is pretty slick so far!

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I've logged in the past but it is quite stressful. I have found that since eating Whole 30 that I don't have urges to eat more than I need, which I thought was almost impossible because I never have been able to just stop eating when full.

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I am only on day 3 and I log everything in. The thing I notice the most is my sodium level is in half or somtimes only a third of what i was eating.!! I was always way over in sodium. I like to post and I hope it is not my downfall Mellisa. But I like to see I am getting veggies in for the day and my water. I don't pay attention to the fats and my calories are almost always over a bit. I use MyFitness Pal and have some good forums and friends on their as well. I am in this to lose weight and find a plan that works for life. It may take a bit for me to stop logging in what I eat. I have managed to stay off of the scale for 3 days!!! that too is hard. Right now I just need to get through the hangover!!! It is awful!

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I have also been logging my food, because I want to make sure that I'm keeping my carbs low (they can add up fast, especially with the occasional piece of fruit!). I also want to see how my iron and calcium intake look. I have had iron-deficient anemia for years, for which I usually take Floravital, but I would like to get my nutrients through food. Once my gut heals, I hope to find that I can maintain my iron levels. I'm finding I frequently fall short on calcium so I need to incorporate more calcium rich veggies in my diet.

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Kate- I want to really encourage you to follow the whole 30, full stop, no exceptions. There really isn't a need to restrict carbs to the point that a single occasional fruit puts you over the edge. Carbs (from veggies and in-season fruit, etc.) are fine and necessary. Similarly, tracking nutrients in isolation doesn't really work. The trick with calcium is having enough of it in the context of the correct balance of magnesium. Eating a variety of whole natural foods will help you get the correct balance, micromanaging to increase one nutrient will surely upset this balance. This is not to say "don't enjoy calcium-rich veggies", of course, but there isn't a need to log and track every gram to be able to do that.

Take the whole 30 as an opportunity to really tune in with your body and listen rather than using your brain so much to analyze evey tiny data-point. Make yourself a nice cup of bone broth and relax and enjoy!

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Thanks, MissMary. I'm certainly not obsessive about it. It's more a curiosity thing. I don't measure my food; I just estimate quantities to get a general idea of how my macronutrient ratios are working out so, on average, I keep a good balance. For me, it supports what I'm doing without making me stress and it doesn't disrupt the enjoyment of my food. If anything, it encourages me to see that the choices I am making are on track with the overall philosophy of Paleo eating.

I will keep in mind the calcium/magnesium balance, though. Thank you for that reminder!

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I also log my food. I keep a log at home because by the night time I can't remember what I had for breakfast. I think it's the age thing.

I also log in the log thread. The reason I do this is so I can go back and read again how I was feeling after eating a certain food.

Also sometimes, with the fridge loaded I cannot think of what to have for a meal. In going back and reading some of the past meals it give me an idea.

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