Although I still highly recommend it, I’m no longer using the Daily Plate to write down everything I eat. For me personally, it’s not a sustainable lifestyle to write it all down every day because it makes me a little neurotic and then when I don’t track for a period of time I heap on guilt that I don’t need. The plan I’ve developed and am on now is my plan for life, and journaling all my food isn’t something I foresee myself doing lifelong – I need to be able to relax and just live if I don’t want to sustain another failure.
That being said, for someone just starting out at weight loss you really do need a tool of some kind to tell you exactly what you’re eating and where it falls nutritionally. There’s an APP called My Fitness Pal which does basically the same thing as the Plate and you can conveniently carry around on your smart phone. I used it and still do on and off and I really like it.
However, after ten years or so of doing this as well as a crap ton of nutritional research, you can and will begin to track it all in your head – whether you want to or not. The ability to sense when you’re nutritionally going off the rails is a habit that forms over time and practice. Sometimes it goes a little out of focus and if you see the scale creeping up again it’s probably a good time to go back to journaling for a week or two just to keep yourself accountable and get back on track. It’s also possible (though not a personal experience of mine) to skew in the wrong direction and start eating too few calories, at which time same deal: it’s time for another check in with some kind of tracker program.
These days, the Daily Plate is a great tool I’m using to figure out things like the exact nutritional content of recipes that I make. For example, I used it to sort out the numbers on the supergreen smoothie recipe I posted last week for a friend.
I’d recommend these great (and free) trackers to anyone, but the widget at the bottom right corner of my blog which has read, “I’ve lost 9 lbs. using the Daily Plate!” hasn’t been accurate in awhile, and needed updating.
So in keeping with the theory that you really can find anything on the internet, I googled, “weight loss widgets”, which led me to www.tickerfactory.com. The service is free, they just put a little advertisement for themselves on your ticker and off you go. They’ve got them for all kinds of things: weight loss goals, pregnancy trackers, runner’s mileage goals, and they have a ton of cute designs available too. If you look at the lower right now you can see I’ve got a road leading to my 140 lb. end goal with a cute little snail to represent me. The snail seemed appropriate as I move a bit slowly.
I know I’m not supposed to look at the whole big number at once because it’s too overwhelming, but the truth is I can’t forget that number. Sure, I can say my goal is just to lose ten pounds but what I can’t ever lose is the knowledge that each ten is just a drop in the bucket toward that final number, toward that whole person’s worth of body weight I need to shed.
Yeah, it’s daunting, but better people than me have looked far more daunting tasks in the face and not flinched. It’s long past time I started facing my dragon.