I’m a list type of girl. Don’t believe me? Just check out my post over at the Petit Fours and Hot Tamales blog last week where I blogged about how I found a series of books that feed this silly quirk of mine (Did you see the part about me charting the dates I put out Kleenex boxes?).
Seriously, I make lists for everything: grocery lists, to-do lists, bill lists, book lists, and there is even that Kleenex list I mentioned. My house is cluttered with little scraps of paper with some type of list written on it. But that’s not really the point here. As much as I rely on my lists, it wasn’t until I read this blog and looked at several of the sites Trish refers us to that I even thought about listing the food I eat on a daily basis. Honestly, I never dreamed it would really matter -- until I charted that first day.
Day #1 Food Journal
Banana and milk 250 calories
Sausage Biscuit 380 calories
Chocolate donut at work 250 calories
Arby’s Chicken sandwich 400 calories
Cup of Sierra Mist 250 calories
Cheeseburger (with the works) 770 calories
Potato Salad 350 calories
Soda 240 calories
Fudge bar 100 calories
Total 2,990 calories
Okay, that was an eye opener! Here I thought I was doing fine eating a ‘healthier’ chicken sandwich and loading up the veggies on my burger. With these choices, I felt I could sneak in a few snacks throughout the day and they wouldn’t really be an issue. But 840 calories worth??? They definitely added up. And what’s with the 770 calories for a cheeseburger? I seriously had no idea I was putting this many calories into my mouth until I wrote them down.
Here is a more recent list.
Wednesday October 21, 2009
Bagel and light cream cheese 300 calories
Nips candies 150 calories
Fiber One Bar 140 calories
Healthy Choice Pot Stickers 380 calories
Flavored Water 40 calories
Fiber one Bar 130 calories
Salad with dressing 90 calories
Diet Soda 0 calories
Popcorn 50 calories
Slice of toast 60 calories
Total 1,340 calories
See what I mean? Much better. There is still some snacking going on. Considering this is one of those days where I leave home at 7:30 a.m. for class in the morning, work for 6 hours and then head to class in the evening, and I don't return home until around 8:45 p.m., this was still a pretty good day. I’m more aware of just how much these little snacks and sodas add up and take this into consideration when I don’t have access to healthier foods.
There are still days when my office is filled with yummy things people bring in and the little voice in my head whispers about how ‘good’ I’ve been. On the days when I cave in to temptations, I write this down in my food journal and flag them with little colorful stickies that stand out when I look at the book. Then the next time I’m tempted, I look at the number of little ‘flags’ and debate with myself just how much I really want that chocolate donut.
As simple as this may sound, it’s tough to remember to do. Just typing this post has reminded me of the multiple days I’ve skipped. But when I do remember to journal my food intake, it really works. Not only am I holding myself accountable for each and every thing I put into my mouth, but I’ve also started looking at food differently. I no longer eat something just to eat it. Because my calories are limited, I need to make every item count. Trust me when I say I’ve actually found myself enjoying my meals a whole lot more than I used to.
Before I go, I wanted to share with you guys a neat site I found. Not only does it have some great tips and tricks on eating healthy, but it has some awesome recipes!!! Definitely check it out. AND don’t forget to start listing what you are putting in your mouth. You might just be surprised…