Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tami's Lists -- The Healthy Side of Lists

By Tami Brothers

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

10:20 snack
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…


Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) on November 20, 2009 at 12:04 AM said...

Tami, hello fellow list maker! I've been doing lists ever since I started first grade. I'm so glad the food diary is working for you. It's really amazing what we're really consuming without realizing it.

And I see you're another Hungry Girl fan. Cool.

Cindy Miles on November 20, 2009 at 7:41 AM said...

Hey Tami! My oh my, you ARE a list maker! Lol! I am too--and then I always forget to carry the list with me. But I LOVE making them! Listing what you eat daily is something Weight Watchers does for their Points System--it really is an eye-opener and it WORKS. I never knew I was such a HOG! Lol! GREAT idea, listing the foods. It certainly will make one think twice about what goes in the belly. GREAT BLOG, girl!

Tami Brothers on November 20, 2009 at 7:42 AM said...

Hi Trish! Thanks a ton for having me. I am serious when I say that I’m obsessed with lists. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t get half the things accomplished that I do. And listing my food each day has been a huge eye opener. I’m not sure, but I might have gotten that Hungry Girl link from you. I LOVE it!!! I find something new there every day.


Maxine Davis on November 20, 2009 at 7:46 AM said...

Tami, I've always meant to do this. That 'meant' lets you know that I haven't YET. I know it is very easy for me to 'forget' that I've eaten some very delicious things!

Excuse me now. I'm off to list what I've eaten so far today! Enjoyed your post.
ps I wish I knew how to keep the pic from showing . . .

Pam on November 20, 2009 at 7:58 AM said...

Hi Tami--

My s-i-l does Weight Watchers, and she swears by a daily food log. Maybe it's time for me to give it a try. And thanks for sharing the link--that chocolate peanut butter fudge sounds delicious, and I actually have everything I need to make it!


Nicki Salcedo on November 20, 2009 at 8:05 AM said...

I love keeping a food diary. I have calculated the calories of one Dorito, because I ate one once and in my mind one Dorito has no calories! At the end of the day those things add up.

I love lists, too, Tami. I've been slacking on my diary (and fully blame NaNoWriMo), but thanks for the encouragement. I'll be back on track soon!

Angie on November 20, 2009 at 8:41 AM said...

This is a great idea Tami, I have in times past kept a food journal, but have not in a while. This is a good reminder to help in my weight loss. Enjoyed reading your blog.

Sandy Elzie on November 20, 2009 at 8:58 AM said...


I'm giving you my vote for Queen of Lists. (g) I am also a sister list maker, but I've calmed down as I got older, retired and have a little more time each day to myself.

I still take a list to the store...getting AT LEAST what's on the list and I still make lists of THINGS TO DO DAILY when I'm having company or throwing a party. (Monday, plan menu and make lists; Tuesday, straighten the house; Wednesday CLEAN the house; Thursday, shop (use other list prepared on Monday); and Friday, cook.

If the guests are staying for Thanksgiving, well, just add more lists!!!


Tami Brothers on November 20, 2009 at 9:24 AM said...

Hey Cindy! Thanks for commenting! I know exactly what you mean by being a HOG. I had no idea how bad I was. Heck, I was the girl who went back for seconds on cake (for the birthday parties at work!!! and you know how little food there really is for those things.). When I wrote that second piece of cake down on my food journal, I had no idea how bad I was until I saw it right there in black and white. Definitely eye opening!

Hi Maxine! I know the power of ‘meant’ well… Trust me. I KNEW it would be a good idea to create these daily lists. I read this blog (and Nicki’s!!!) and saw how much those little things add up. Like I said above, it wasn’t until I actually wrote it down that I realized how bad it was…grin… Thanks for visiting me over here!

Hey Pam! That chocolate-peanut butter fudge IS yummy!!! I made it for the Thanksgiving get-together at work yesterday. I felt much better having brought something that was ‘kind of’ healthy and that I knew the number of calories in. It definitely helped me stay away from those other deserts. I’m planning to make the Pumpkin bars for next week! Thanks for commenting!

Hi Nicki! Dito on the Doritos. We have a NASCAR party to attend on Sunday (right after the Saturday GRW meeting…grin…) and Doritos are what we’ve been mandated to bring. I LOVE those 100 calorie packs they sell at Publics (yes, they even have Doritos ones). I don’t feel so deprived (or tempted) when I grab them for one of my snacks. PLUS, they help with my kid. He is a huge snacker and these packets help us all to keep our snacking under control. Thanks a ton for commenting!

Hi Angie! Thank you for commenting! I started reading this blog for fun and was surprised at how life changing this one little suggestion has been. I still struggle with what I eat, but at least I’m more conscious of what I put in my mouth.

Hey Sandy! Another sister list maker! I remember the lists you talked about over at Petit Fours and Hot Tamales. I truly admire you in your monthly food preparations. I know how much work that takes and although I don’t do it very often, I know how much it helps on keeping the grocery budget down! Thanks a ton for commenting!

Dianna Love on November 20, 2009 at 9:47 AM said...

Tami - We are list sisters!! I am a list maker from the day I dropped out of the womb. I would feel lost without something written down and scheduled,but I've never considered writing down what I eat. I'm going to try that this week. I have to think of a good spot to put the notepad, like next to my morning coffee, so that I can try this for a week. Sounds like a great idea. thanks for inviting me to visit this blog. I love the idea of being a healthy writer. (Hi Trish, waving at you from GA).

Michelle Butler on November 20, 2009 at 10:14 AM said...


Keeping a food diary, list or tracker really is so helpful and important. It makes me so much more aware of what I am actually eating and helps me control the tendency to overeat.

The one last bad tracking habit I need to overcome is my tendency to NOT write down the "bad" stuff I've eaten - the little snacks or big meals. I find I tend to NOT track/list the times I need to do it the most - aka the times I'll eat the most such as business trips, travel, eating out, etc.

Marilyn Baron on November 20, 2009 at 10:16 AM said...

I like to make lists, too, but lately I've started losing the lists because they're on scraps of paper.

I don't keep a diet list (although I probably should), but I'm glad that my fellow PF&HT blogging sister is so organized.

Marilyn Baron

Walt M on November 20, 2009 at 10:18 AM said...


I make lists, too. However, my wife is always complaining about there being little scraps of paper all over the house. She finally gave up it when she realized both my BIL's had the same complaint about my sisters. Genetics is hard to fight.

Tami Brothers on November 20, 2009 at 10:56 AM said...

Hey Dianna! I so knew you would be a list maker. I can tell by how organized you are and by how much you get done. Definitely try writing your food down. I was honestly surprised.

Hi Michelle! I love your posts over here!!! I don’t comment too often (will try to do better!!!) because I read the blog on Google Reader from work (the only way I can read it there). By the time I get home, I’m usually so exhausted, I end up in bed wishing I had a few more hours in the day…grin…
I’ve been known NOT to write down those foods I don’t want to admit to, but I’m getting better at it. Of course now that I’m actually writing them down more, I have far more little colorful stickies than I care to admit too…. Thanks for commenting.

Hi Marilyn! I knew you’d be a list maker, too. I used to loose my little sheets of paper ALL the time. But I solved that (mostly) by buying really neat notebooks. I have several of them. One for my food journal. One for my daily journal. One for GRW notes…grin… And of course, one for writing ideas… Trust me, this helped a ton!

Hey Walt!!! (big wave) I haven’t seen you in a while. I hope you can make it to the meeting this weekend! Good luck with the little scraps of paper and your wife. Thankfully my hubby has his little quirks, too, or I wouldn’t get away with it as much… grin… Of course, I’m sure you could find some neat little notebooks as well. Maybe not the princess one I have (grin). Thanks for commenting!!!

Okay, I’m headed to the theatre to see New Moon! I promise to come back. Maybe. Man, I can’t wait to see that movie!!!

See ya!

Tami Brothers on November 20, 2009 at 4:51 PM said...

Wow! I cannot say how good that movie was. I LOVED it. I can totally see where the Team Jacob crew get their love for the boy. I am still wiping the drool off my chin.

I am so glad I've read the books because if I had to wait a whole year (or however long) for the next movie to come out, I would be seriously upset. I might just have to go read the next book just to satisfy my craving for more!!!

Michelle Butler on November 20, 2009 at 5:53 PM said...

Thanks, Tami, for the update on the movie! I've read the books and saw the Twilight movie but wondered if I should bother to go see the next movie. I did think that Bella's relationship with Jacob was more equal and healthier than her relationship with Bella. It might be fun to see that play out on screen. I did wonder if all her moping would get tedious.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) on November 20, 2009 at 9:20 PM said...

Wow, the day I'm away from home all day is the day everyone comes out to play! Lots of Georgia gals in the house -- and Walt (Hey, Walt!) :)

Dianna, I am not the least bit surprised you're a list maker. In fact, I think I'd be shocked speechless if you weren't. :)

I have been very lax in my diary the past several days.

Oh, and I'm dying to go see New Moon. I wanted to go today, but had to do daughterly duties. I plan to see it this weekend though.

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