Where do you stop tracking?

I’ve been at this tracking thing for going on over a month now. At my fittest and throughout my journey (starting in 2014) I had tried tracking but then would stop because well, it’s depressing ALWAYS going over calories!! This time around after a 30 pound Covid weight gain I gave myself a realistic goal of staying under 2,000 to start tracking . It’s been really great and I’ve had no trouble at all. I also started my journey this time around tracking EVERYTHING I ate with pictures. I have enjoyed doing this in the past not using a tracker but just pictures and making collages of my food with an “estimated calories”- I’m pretty good with calorie estimates, the big FAT book in the 90’s was my reading material so before trackers I had a one up general idea of what I was eating.

Where does one stop? I understand it’s different for everyone- but I’m just curious.
I have stopped now taking pictures of everything I eat, I didn’t like that image for my kids to see at EVERY meal or bite. Will I still take out of a delicious meal? Well yea it’s 2021 it’s normal but just not of everything.

What are your thoughts though on tracking. I mean NO DISRESPECT if you are a long term tracker and this WILL come out wrong- but does it get to a point where long term tracking; measuring everything can become and create an unhealthy presentation of food and just learning true cues and how to live? Should we deny ourselves because we already ate our limits but true hungry still remains and with the opposite sometimes I wonder if I’m JUST eating because I logged and planned for it rather then maybe I had enough but I want to hit that protein goal, or I just have left over calories to splurge on.

Where do the tools to learn healthy habits stop being tools and start then being used for demolition?

I still plan to track for a bit longer, but I’ve really been thinking about this lately. Curious on other people’s thoughts.


  • Idea just popped in my head-Going to try post tracking. Just track at the end of my day for this week to see what my body naturally decides to eat off conscience eating verses seeing a physical number. I think this will be a fun experiment
  • AndreaTamira
    AndreaTamira Posts: 272 Member
    I am going to continue tracking till I reach naintanace and further. After a good while in maintanance I may decide to stop tracking, BUT will still record my weight and watch it vigilantly. Depending on this being enough I'll either stop tracking (with the occasional tracking week thrown in to make sure I stay good at my internal calorie estimation. - You lose what you don't practice!) or just continue on forever.

    Last time when I exited tracking, exited weighing myself... Well, here I am again.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,695 Member
    I hit my goal in spring of 2013 and I haven't tracked since then. For the most part I've maintained that until 2020 and I've put on 20 Lbs. I'm cutting that now and I'm not tracking anything other than mentally. For a desk jockey I have a relatively high TDEE which gives me quite a bit of leeway and when I was logging, I used it as a tool to help me learn calories in this or that or a portion of this or that, etc. so it was pretty easy to take that knowledge into maintenance and not worry about every last gram of something or every little calorie.

    My appetite stays pretty steady and is usually pretty well commensurate with my activity...my issue in 2020 was a serious lack of activity due to about 5 months of injury combined with COVID lockdown and then getting lazy with my food and doing things like making a pizza hot pocket for myself because I'm WFH with my kids home and that's what they wanted for lunch. I'm back to mostly whole foods and cooking and regular exercise and the weight is coming right off no problem.
  • I agree it’s definitely an individual thing and I think too it’s a great tool as people often go through the journey with different goal post set and nutrition is a make or breaker when it comes to these goals- I guess for myself I just really want to break away from as many crutches as possible and the more I read things like this article: https://www.google.com/amp/s/metro.co.uk/2018/03/02/how-healthy-food-tracking-apps-could-actually-be-leading-to-an-increase-in-disordered-eating-7351837/amp/

    and as I listen to Ted Talks, or You tubers tell their testimony with food it makes me look at myself and want to truly grow in a free lifestyle where I’m just living it and not letting “it” control me with “rules” or so forth. (It looks like for those above it doesn’t which is AMAZING, for me the app is something I open probably 10 times a day and I hate that) It’s really a hard thing to balance and break free of and conviction has really been weighing on me in this area.
    I know I’m slowly growing because pre-Covid I religiously worked out 7 days a week petrified a rest day would wreak me. “I can’t take a rest day! What if one rest day somehow turns into two because something comes up!” This time around I physically take my Apple Watch off and don’t track food at all on Sunday or workout, if a walk or something happens organically great but if I lay around all day that’s okay too. It’s a good feeling.
  • kshama2001 wrote: »

    I'd avoid reading articles with click-baity headlines like this. The title is "How ‘healthy’ food tracking apps could actually be leading to an increase in disordered eating" but when you read the article the thrust is that tracking can be bad for people who already have eating disorders. Well, duh.

    "Apps that help you obsess are bad if you have a problem obsessing" is more honest but just
    isn't as interesting.

    Also "weighing your ingredients...are all textbook signs of disordered eating" is just ridiculous. Clearly the author had never worked in a commercial kitchen where ingredients are commonly weighed or is aware that outside the US food scales are far more common.[/quote]

    Right- but there is a difference between working in a commercial kitchen, or making a recipe at home with measurements and measuring everything for daily logging; as in one Ted Talk I watched called “Life is too short too short to weigh your cornflakes” GREAT vid - now as most everyone above said they aren’t 100% all the time; and if this is how one wants to live okay we all have our own lives and lifestyles.
    I just noticed my habits of taking pictures and then having pre-measured foods in the fridge and my kids holding up a bag saying “what’s up with this?”- or me grilling my husband with what he is putting in the meal he was preparing the family. I think it’s interesting to look at. As the author points out my habits are an “eating disorder” now, I wouldn’t look at it or say it is, but it is eye opening and made me stop and think of these moments I’ve had over the past 6 weeks and how long term I could be doing my kids a disservice with my behavior.

    AGAIN! I know it may come off as though I’m saying “People STOP doing this”- No, we all have separate journeys, habits and ways we use these tools. It’s just something I find intriguing and I think worth putting some thought into for myself and maybe not scrolling past and ignoring. Growth is my 2021 goal...

  • wmweeza
    wmweeza Posts: 319 Member
    By the way HamiltonFamily...I love your hat :)
  • lemurcat2
    lemurcat2 Posts: 7,881 Member
    as I listen to Ted Talks, or You tubers tell their testimony with food it makes me look at myself and want to truly grow in a free lifestyle where I’m just living it and not letting “it” control me with “rules” or so forth. (It looks like for those above it doesn’t which is AMAZING, for me the app is something I open probably 10 times a day and I hate that) It’s really a hard thing to balance and break free of and conviction has really been weighing on me in this area.

    I have maintained for sustained periods of time without logging, but it's not "just living it" as in my body naturally just wants to eat what keeps me at maintenance, or I just have to follow my hunger cues. It's more like I had a basic way of eating (which is pretty flexible) that I developed when logging and that I understand calories and portions sufficiently that I can mindfully eat and hit my week's calories. I'd bet when I'm mindfully eating like that my weekly cals would be about the same as when I was logging, since other than at the very beginning logging just confirmed my assumed calories; it's not like I was pre-logging and then measuring out specific planned portions (which would drive me insane, just as a personality trait). What logging did was allow me first to understand the cals in different foods and portions and, second, to show me if I screwed up and had 700 cals for lunch rather than the roughly 500 I usually did, and if so I could easily adjust my dinner (in my head) and come out roughly where I should.

    When logging, I only open the app (technically, the Cron website, where I log) after I cook each meal (unless I'm going back and forth while cooking, which I sometimes do during cooking downtimes). I sometimes look at it at the end of the day to remind myself of my nutrition for the day. I don't obsess about it or review it otherwise, and while I think weighing isn't necessary for a lot of people (including me), I typically do weigh since it doesn't add any time to my cooking process and I find it easier to log by gram anyway. I like to guess the grams before I weigh and I'm usually close.

    I've stopped eating mindfully from time to time (I did in 2020 for a while), and when I did that, I gained weight. I think I could lose or maintain without logging so long as I stayed mindful, but sometimes I find logging helps me regain mindfulness again. I also currently am really enjoying logging at Cron as it is fun to try to hit all of my nutrition goals there, which motivates me to eat even better than I would otherwise. But I enjoy tracking things--my workouts are planned and logged in a spreadsheet (and I build in rest days) much more than my meals are planned, and I find that motivational. I'm fine with rules when they feel self-imposed and I can easily change them if they aren't working for me.

    None of this is intended to say you should log; I would agree that people differ in what feels good for them.