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Where do you stop tracking?

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  • kshama2001kshama2001 Member Posts: 23,470 Member Member Posts: 23,470 Member
    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?

    I have tracked - with a few short breaks when on vacation or suchlike- since 2013.
    Long after reaching my goal which I did at end of that year.
    so, 10 months of losing followed by 7 years of maitenance.

    BUT - it is important to note that continuing tracking does not neccesarily mean 'measuring everything' - my tracking is quite loose: a lot of estimates and law of averages.

    It isnt a false dichotomy between measuring/weighing everything to the nth degree and not doing it at all.

    I dont think I am creating an unhealthy presentation of food or do not know how to live.

    Tracking is a tool - use it or dont use it and use it in the way that suits you.

    I liken it to using a shopping list - some people use them for a while, some use them forever (I am in this team also).
    Ive gone from writing "Milk, 3 x 600ml cartons, xyz brand, top shelf of fridge, aisle 5" - to "milk x 3" - I dont need all the detail but I still need something.

    Yes, I am lost without my shopping list but my OH (before I moved in) never shopped with one.

    I do the bulk of the shopping, but when I ask him to pick up things at the store, I am super detailed, and need to include sales prices, or he'll come home with something similar which costs more than twice as much, like today :(
  • wunderkindkingwunderkindking Member Posts: 123 Member Member Posts: 123 Member
    I am tracking as a means of educating myself about the nutritional content of food and what my body needs, and how to make better choices for it.

    I will absolutely stop tracking when I feel like I have a grip on that.

    I am not a yo-yo dieter. I am not someone who needs 'accountability' to keep me on track. My relationship with food is not adversarial. I got fat after I had kids, failed to care, and made a lot of bad choices through ignorance.

    I will absolutely stop tracking when I feel like I have a better idea of what kind of calories (and macros) my body needs to maintain a healthy weight, and what those look like.

    Because what I AM is a person who is prone to going 'hard' to my own detriment and with obsessive tendencies about things. Indefinite Would be me, basically, obsessively, playing math games with food.

    No.

    Not happening.

    ETA: I in no way think other people who choose to are inherently obsessive. Just that it would be for ME.
    edited February 22
  • dragon_girl26dragon_girl26 Member Posts: 2,042 Member Member Posts: 2,042 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    As a postscript: I think we're unlikely ever to see a TED talk or blog post titled (say) "I spend 10 minutes a day food logging and it's a boring, routine but helpful thing".

    Selection bias may be at play here, since people rarely talk about helpful routines that they don't consider profound, or have any particular emotions about. (Grocery lists are a good example. People do or don't use them, but IME rarely talk about them either way.)

    People do like to talk about obsessions, neuroses, and the self-help strategies for extracting themselves from them, though. We're more likely to read/hear about calorie counting or food logging from that perspective, than from the "boring routine" perspective.

    Right, plus the other thing is to consider is monetary gain. Maybe not as much with the TED talks, but definitely with YouTube "testimonials". A lot of those people are influencers, reimbursed in one form or another for selling or marketing products to a target audience. They may not be straight out selling,, but casually mentioning how fabulous X product is. "boring" calorie counting typically isn't sexy and doesn't sell products.
  • Hamiltonfamily2018Hamiltonfamily2018 Member Posts: 80 Member Member Posts: 80 Member
    @dragon_girl26 For myself I grew up with a mother who had an extreme eating disorder and it really bothered me growing up, I remember being 6 I actually can remember the lighting and the way the room looked in the kitchen looking up at my dad and asking “why does mom only eat XYZ?”Why wouldn’t my mom ever eat ice cream with me and only get one donut hole. Mom never got her own meal ever and has always shared; just taken a bite. Now this was before the internet ever existed- so what would she look like today? I by far AM NOT anorexic or bulimic ( nor am I saying tracking is in the same ball park) but looking back at how my moms habits effected me and then looking at the habits I’ve formed myself it makes me take a step back and reevaluate. Yes, I have taught my girls to look at labels, we eat candy and I teach them to portion that out, but is it too far when I’M myself weighing strawberries? Maybe. For others maybe not. I mean we are all different, from different backgrounds, to different lifestyles to different parenting styles.

    @kshama2001
    Do I think tracking is inherently BAD? NO. I’m sorry that my writings came off that way. I have however made a habit in MANY areas playing devil’s advocate and really researching subjects and I find it fascinating why people choose to do what they do. I think pausing with an open mind and learning from others can be a saving grace, it’s neat to learn, look at perspectives and take something from it or don’t.
    I find that interesting here with this subject and have gotten a lot of great insight.

    For me, I lost 90 pounds and kept it all off for 6 years juggling 10 pounds which I think is fine with no tracking other then occasional picture logging when I wanted to lean out or gain more muscle.... I know why I put on SO much weight this last year, no gym, lockdown, ate literally everything . I saw I was getting bigger but eventually just didn’t care....until I did..... Tracking has been a great, I’m surprised I’ve stuck to it this long. I mean I think I’ll continue another few weeks doing as I mentioned and just track at the end of the day to tip toe back into intuitive eating eventually where I’ll go back to no tracking.

    I just came across this article I shared and then decided to take a “trip down the rabbit hole” and found it interesting.
    Now I’m not judging anyone who does log long term, as brilliantly mentioned above we all budget our pocket books, grocery shopping and guilty pleasures differently. :)
  • Hamiltonfamily2018Hamiltonfamily2018 Member Posts: 80 Member Member Posts: 80 Member
    @wmweeza lol thanks! Go Hawks! Maybe next year will be better. However sounds like there may be some drama going down with Russell Nooooooooooooo. I mean it’s a little sad we haven’t been making it to the playoffs.
  • Hamiltonfamily2018Hamiltonfamily2018 Member Posts: 80 Member Member Posts: 80 Member
    @AnnPT77 I always find you so insightful and interesting! Appreciate that.

    Thank you everyone :) here is to a fit fun week!
  • Speakeasy76Speakeasy76 Member Posts: 308 Member Member Posts: 308 Member
    I can see how for some people (my former self included) that tracking and weighing/measuring everything can become obsessive. I have used MFP off and on since 2012 (lost a good amount of weight and kept it off give/take 5 lb), and have been using it again for 10 months since last April. I also did WW and counted points at different times of my life, and started counting calories off and on 30 years ago (at the age of 14).

    I kind of look at it this way: some people are more bottom-up processors, meaning they can maintain a healthy weight just by listening to their body cues, eating when hungry, stopping when full, etc. Then, there are people like me (like a lot of us here, probably) who are more top-down processors: we actually use the more developed part of our brains to help us know what a good-size portion "should" look like and how much we should be eating.

    As someone who has a long history of restrict/binge cycles, anxiety and overall disordered eating and thinking about food, at some times in my life tracking points or calories could lead to obsessive thinking about them and food. Because of that, at times I would be hesitant to track food because I COULD get obsessive about it. I really tried to follow more of the principles of Intuitive Eating, but while I was able to manage for the most part, a bit of weight started creeping back on. The problem is, I really don't know what "eating until satisfied" really means. I can tell when I'm actually hungry now and when I may want to or am eating for other reasons and overall am eating more mindfully, but I've also realized I need an outside way to hold myself accountable. Tracking also forces me to become more mindful of what I'm putting in my mouth.

    When I started to track again to see if I could lose about 8 pounds, I started off with just the intention of tracking what I ate and not with the purpose to cut back calories, but to make myself more aware of what I was actually eating. I also knew I didn't want to religiously measure and weigh things as 1: I didn't think I'd want to keep up doing that for life and 2: I was afraid that would lead to more disordered thinking, in my case. It didn't take me long to want to cut back calories for a slow weight loss goal, and I do measure with cups every now and again. I was resistant to measuring with a digital scale (besides for baking/cooking purposes) because I was worried that would mean I was too "obsessive." However, I just recently started to do this because 1. I'm trying to see if I can lose a bit more fat(mostly for vanity reasons), and I know at the size I'm at now I have to be precise and 2. I'm genuinely curious. I weighed an apple today, and it turns out I was underestimating the size/calorie count by about 50%. Oof! The thing is, I was pretty relaxed about it and not upset. I'll just have to make adjustments. I also know I'm not going to weigh and measure ever single thing for the rest of my life, just initially and every now and again. It probably also helps that I'm now on an SSRI to help with that anxiety about food and calories.


    Again, I think it's very individual, and hopefully people will start to become aware if they are becoming obsessive about it. For example, if someone only eats food if they can measure and track with complete accuracy, then I personally feel that's too obsessive.




  • ridiculous59ridiculous59 Member Posts: 2,037 Member Member Posts: 2,037 Member
    I have been tracking ever since I started MFP about 8 years ago. I don't weigh everything, since I am maintaining successfully without needing to, but I do log everything i eat as well as all my exercise. I was a yoyo dieter for most of my life, gaining and losing the same 40 lbs. over and over. Every time I lost weight, I would eventually go back to my old eating habits and the weight would come back. By logging consistently, I maintain an awareness of exactly what I am eating and how it relates to my weight. I know how much extra I should eat to maintain my weight after doing a hard workout. I know whether I can have a bowl of ice cream or just a banana for dessert. I have some days that are over on calories and some that are under. It balances out. But I don't get into the kind of mindless indulgence that sabotaged me in the past.

    This. Exactly. (I even started January 2013 LOL). And I like having my exercise logged because it makes me feel like I accomplished something positive....like a high five to myself 🙂
  • kshama2001kshama2001 Member Posts: 23,470 Member Member Posts: 23,470 Member
    I have been tracking ever since I started MFP about 8 years ago. I don't weigh everything, since I am maintaining successfully without needing to, but I do log everything i eat as well as all my exercise. I was a yoyo dieter for most of my life, gaining and losing the same 40 lbs. over and over. Every time I lost weight, I would eventually go back to my old eating habits and the weight would come back. By logging consistently, I maintain an awareness of exactly what I am eating and how it relates to my weight. I know how much extra I should eat to maintain my weight after doing a hard workout. I know whether I can have a bowl of ice cream or just a banana for dessert. I have some days that are over on calories and some that are under. It balances out. But I don't get into the kind of mindless indulgence that sabotaged me in the past.

    This. Exactly. (I even started January 2013 LOL). And I like having my exercise logged because it makes me feel like I accomplished something positive....like a high five to myself 🙂

    I didn't log for about two months last fall and did notice that I was eating more and exercising less. I gained about 5 pounds.
  • xxzenabxxxxzenabxx Member Posts: 755 Member Member Posts: 755 Member
    OP, I can totally empathise with you because it’s one of those things that are like a double edged sword. You love it and hate it at the same time. Personally, tracking was really good for me and really bad for me because I learned how much I needed to eat and how much protein I needed, but I admit that it got obsessive after a while. I did it for 3 years, where the first 2 years I underate (I ate 1500 calories which is seen as a ‘normal’ number) and ruined my health. I had a lot of issues going on with food and my relationship with food was not good. I have a history of ED. I’ve found therapy to help, but it wasn’t until I listened to Tabitha Farrar that I realised that I was misusing calorie counting. I would stress out if I went over my calories and I would exercise just so I could eat more. If I went over my calories then the next day I would restrict myself. I would feel exhausted/embarrassed asking my family members what they put in their food so I could weigh it and track it. These were all issues that I’d been dealing with. I now eat normally. I don’t even eat intuitively because I don’t like the silly rules they have. I now know if I’ve overeaten, I don’t need an app to tell me that. I can literally feel the extra food in my body. I also know if I haven’t eaten enough protein (I aim for 100-110g). It’s so freeing and liberating to not see food and numbers tied together all the time. I listen to my body, and just eat more mindfully. As some one who has yo-yo dieted for 17 years, this is so liberating. I think that counting calories is a tool to help you along the way, but it’s your BEHAVIOURS and HABITS that determine your long term health (and I’ve established those healthy behaviours). Obviously, just wanted to add that I guess I’m lucky in the sense that I enjoy eating mostly whole foods and I’ve never been obese- Just a little overweight. I do agree that other people just need to do it for life and that’s okay for them, especially if they have been obese and lack the hunger/satiety cues. Each to their own.

    Will I ever track calories again? I might do it again but only loosely, where I mostly guesstimate my food because as a perfectionist, weighing and tracking every morsel was and is a bad move for me!
  • Theo166Theo166 Member, Premium Posts: 2,418 Member Member, Premium Posts: 2,418 Member
    one Ted Talk I watched called “Life is too short too short to weigh your cornflakes”

    Speaking for myself, weighing my cornflakes probably extended my life. Certainly the quality.

    I'm not a big fan of some of the stuff put out by Ted Talks, too focused on pulling emotional strings. Her anorexia was driven by a bunch of very unhealthy rules she used to guide her eating habits. Her problem was having unhealthy goals.

    A good story but the title was clickbait with little help on changing bad eating habits.
    Here's the link if anyone is interested

  • Hamiltonfamily2018Hamiltonfamily2018 Member Posts: 80 Member Member Posts: 80 Member
    xxzenabxx wrote: »
    OP, I can totally empathise with you because it’s one of those things that are like a double edged sword. You love it and hate it at the same time. Personally, tracking was really good for me and really bad for me because I learned how much I needed to eat and how much protein I needed, but I admit that it got obsessive after a while. I did it for 3 years, where the first 2 years I underate (I ate 1500 calories which is seen as a ‘normal’ number) and ruined my health. I had a lot of issues going on with food and my relationship with food was not good. I have a history of ED. I’ve found therapy to help, but it wasn’t until I listened to Tabitha Farrar that I realised that I was misusing calorie counting. I would stress out if I went over my calories and I would exercise just so I could eat more. If I went over my calories then the next day I would restrict myself. I would feel exhausted/embarrassed asking my family members what they put in their food so I could weigh it and track it. These were all issues that I’d been dealing with. I now eat normally. I don’t even eat intuitively because I don’t like the silly rules they have. I now know if I’ve overeaten, I don’t need an app to tell me that. I can literally feel the extra food in my body. I also know if I haven’t eaten enough protein (I aim for 100-110g). It’s so freeing and liberating to not see food and numbers tied together all the time. I listen to my body, and just eat more mindfully. As some one who has yo-yo dieted for 17 years, this is so liberating. I think that counting calories is a tool to help you along the way, but it’s your BEHAVIOURS and HABITS that determine your long term health (and I’ve established those healthy behaviours). Obviously, just wanted to add that I guess I’m lucky in the sense that I enjoy eating mostly whole foods and I’ve never been obese- Just a little overweight. I do agree that other people just need to do it for life and that’s okay for them, especially if they have been obese and lack the hunger/satiety cues. Each to their own.

    Will I ever track calories again? I might do it again but only loosely, where I mostly guesstimate my food because as a perfectionist, weighing and tracking every morsel was and is a bad move for me!


    This is where I am too!! I too am not interested in intuitive eating as a whole- however I am more interested to see where my “set weight” more or less ends up. I know I will range between 2,000-2,400 by not tracking and that’s still putting me most days in a very small deficit that is maintainable and while moving my body in a way I can and want to continue forever. I don’t want to lose weight by restricting too much, I don’t want to keep buying food that is “just for me” as in low calorie tortillas etc, I too don’t want to ask “what’s in this” or think too much about it anymore. I just want to eat what I want and until I’m full. Honestly I think I should settle between 150-160 and that’s fine by me. I have never “dieted” in my 90 pounds lost, I just ate less and moved more. When I put on the 30 pounds this year it was because I didn’t move and ate myself sick more often then not from living in lockdown- no more. Logging was great just to see where I’m at and what my healthy calories are from my hunger cues; they seem pretty in check honestly. Once my set weight settles in I can decide if I want to lose some or just hang there... personally I think it’s completely normal to juggle 5-10 pounds and the scale is a false indication of fat anyway.

    NOT SAYING if one decides to track that it’s wrong. This is just where I’m at. I can be an obsessive person and coming across these articles really helped me personally take a step back and look at the habits I was forming that I never had really done until tracking; I didn’t like it-

    Some people can handle booze, some people can handle tracking- I think I may be better off without both :)
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