Thursday, February 25, 2010

Tracking, and retracking

One of the best weight-control tools I’ve found is to plan out my calories. For the week, as much as possible, but definitely each morning I enter what I plan to eat into my FitDay program so I can gauge where I’m at with calories, nutrients and because its a specific concern for me as a vegetarian, to make sure I’m getting enough protein.

By tracking like this, ahead of the meal, I find I’m no longer starving at dinnertime and already at my projected calorie limit for the day. Or worse and what I faced more often, the clock saying nine pm and I’m still short two or three hundred calories for the day.

Now, this tracking isn’t written in stone. It’s on the computer, so like all of our writing endeavors, the delete key is my friend :-) But it is a great tool to help me stay in control – especially at times when I have events, RWA meetings, girls nights, and that kind of thing to factor in and stay on the right path.
So what happens with something throws it out of control?

We had an unexpected call to celebrate last weekend. My oldest daughter got a monster huge promotion. One she’d worked really hard for, taken management training courses in addition to her college classes and working 30 hours a week. I was so button-popping proud of her. And when she got home to tell me, as soon as we got through dancing around and whohoooing, she asked if we could go out for ice cream to celebrate.

Ice cream? But... I’m trying to lose weight. I’d already planned out my calories for the day. It was too late in the day to add in another workout, and on top of that, my weekly weigh in was the following morning.

So what’s a girl to do? Revise my plans, of course. The first thing I did was go to the Baskin Robbins website and look at their offerings. I chose three options, since I wasn’t sure what they’d have in our little store. I used the highest caloric choice and keyed it into my FitDay program, then adjusted my dinner calories accordingly.

And then, still on track, I took my baby out for ice cream, toasted her success with a tiny pink spoon and loved every second of it. And I’ll admit, half the love came from knowing I was still on track!!!

How about you? Do you ever check out restaurant menus/nutrition info before you head out the door? Have you found it makes the healthy choosing that much easier?

Tawny Weber writes hot, spicy stories for Harlequin Blaze. In January 2010, her novella, YOU HAVE TO KISS A LOT OF FROGS, was out in the Blazing Bedtime Story anthology and her next full length Blaze,, RIDING THE WAVES, will be out in September 2010. Come by and visit her on the web at


Anne MacFarlane on February 25, 2010 at 8:50 AM said...

Tawny, I think planning out your meals and writing down what you eat is one of the best tools to stay on track.

Michelle Butler on February 25, 2010 at 9:40 AM said...

Planning can help a lot and make it easier for me to make wise choices - or plan to work around indulgences. I do often check menus before I go out to dinner. I actually like how NYC places have to post nutritional information on their menus. It helps me make wiser choices when I'm there. I wish more places would do that.

I don't tend to write down what I plan to eat in my tracker/food diary - I wait until I've eaten it to write it down.

Another big thing I've learned that is really important is to control my hunger so that I don't get to that I'm so hungry I say I'm starving stage where all plans and good intentions can get thrown out the window.

Sally Kilpatrick on February 25, 2010 at 10:51 AM said...


You make some great points about planning. When I can't plan or when the cupboards are bare because I need groceries--those are the times when I fail most miserably. It's the shortage of time that often derails my best intentions--any suggestions?

Tawny on February 25, 2010 at 11:53 AM said...

Thanks, Anne. I think its a good tool to use as much as possible :-) I'll admit, I'm not militant about it. I tend to make a menu on the weekend before grocery shopping, so I know what meals we'll have -but not when. I figure out the when on a day by day basis *g*

Tawny on February 25, 2010 at 11:55 AM said...

Michelle, there are some great sites online that give a lot of the restaurant calories, at least for the more chain-like restaurants. I know if we're eating out, I do look it up. Even without nutrition info, I'll look to at least get an idea of what the possibilities are. Of course, being vegetarian, in most cases there are only one or two choices as it is *g*

If I know what my main meals will be, I do record it. I use a digital program, though, so deleting and replacing is a snap. But recording early in the day really lets me see what my options are for snacks, etc.

Tawny on February 25, 2010 at 12:01 PM said...

Oh, Sally, I hear ya! I hit that 'no fresh fruit, no good choices, what do I eat now' wall a few times a month. Always a day or so before payday or grocery day or, well, you know -the rotten weather, kid sick, can't get to the store day *g*

What's really helped me is to have fall-back meals. Standards that I know are in my caloric range, that are at least semi-healthy and that won't hurt my diet.

For instance, I always ALWAYS prefer fresh fruit. But last week I had to resort to canned. Okay, not perfect, but by having a few cans socked away in the pantry, I was able to stay on track, and still get my fruit serving. I always have eggs for some reason, so a quick scrambled egg is a good alternate to something junky.

Michelle rocks the frozen choices, since she does a month's worth of cooking at a time and has all kinds of delish options in her freezer. I think that's an amazing decision and has to really help a lot.

If the cupboards are really REALLY bare, meaning you have to hit fast food on the way home - most places have healthier options, don't they? A salad? Even if the salad is along side the big mac *g* if you eat it first, maybe the tummy will be too full for the entire mac attack, right?

What do you think?

Michelle Butler on February 25, 2010 at 1:15 PM said...

I really have saved a lot of time and money by doing this cook one day for the month/quarter and freezing lots of meals. I also like how it sets me up to eat a variety of healthy meals all the time.

I've detailed what I do on these days in previous posts:

The latter cooking post was a particularly inexpensive one. I was craving lentils, barley and beans when I planned for it - and those are very filling, high protein, low fat and low cost options. I also highly recommend quinoa - really filling due to its high protein count, and I think it's tastier than rice.

I was craving meat the time I knew I was about to be snowed in and spent more. I also shopped at a different grocery store, and that might have made a difference.

Even if you are craving meat, there are tricks - use less expensive cuts, buy a whole chicken and break it apart, buy in bulk on sale, etc.

If you are worried about eating healthy costing more, it doesn't have to. There are lots of ways around that. Both Weight Watchers and Cooking Light have articles and information about eating healthy for less $ - often a a feed a family of 4 for less than $10 article. I'm pretty sure I've seen stuff at other sites such as food network. You may want to google it. Another thing is to cook based on the season.

Finally, another planning tip I've done which helps a lot is figure out all the healthy meal options I can pick up at both the Union Station Food Court (near where I work - and good options are extremely limited) and the restaurants (mostly fast foodish) around the two metro stops closest to my condo. Since I've figured this out, I can pretty much say I have so many points/calories left - here are my options - what will be the most satisfying to me today and help fill out my nutritional needs for the day. At least on my way home, the faster food options may not trump the yummy turkey burgers I have frozen at home. :)

It takes a little time to plan and figure this stuff out - but it really pays off in time, money and calories saved over the long term.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) on February 25, 2010 at 8:58 PM said...

Tawny, I think it's amazing that you figure this out before you even start your day. That's something I'm going to look into.

Sally Kilpatrick on February 26, 2010 at 11:17 AM said...

Thanks, Michelle--one of these days I'm going to have to go back and take a look at how you cook ahead.

I did learn a few good things from LA, and I'll share them with you. If you have to go through McDonalds, eat the small plain hamburger and the fruit and yogurt parfait--that rarely throws me off. Also, you can have their ice cream as a treat if you count it as a starch. My other fast food standby is Wendy's chili with a side salad--that one doesn't kick me off the rails, either.

Michelle Butler on February 26, 2010 at 12:00 PM said...

Thanks for the McDonalds tip. I would never have thought of the fruit and yogurt parfait - much less their ice cream, and that sounds like a really satisfying meal.

I have heard Wendy's chili over a baked potato is pretty good too. I've done that in the past. I really like Wendy's burgers, so I usually go for one - but with nothing too fattening on it and if I'm really good - their junior one.

Malea on February 27, 2010 at 10:11 AM said...

Myself, I'm a Wendy's mandarin chicken salad fan -- just use half the dressing, and skip the fried noodle topping. It fits my diabetic eating plan just fine.

Because of my diabetes, I almost always try to investigate the nutritional info for meals if I'm eating out. There are pretty good online calculators -- like CalorieKing -- for generic "out" foods as well. I use my Weight Watchers online account to project eating for the day, that way I can play around with choices and think them through instead of making decisions and rough calculations on the fly.

Post a Comment


Healthy Writer Copyright © 2009 Girlymagz is Designed by Bie Girl Vector by Ipietoon