Is logging sustainable long term?



  • randomlyred
    randomlyred Posts: 23 Member
    I've been logging pretty much since late 2014 - few gaps for vacations and when I've burned out, but I keep coming back. I need to know roughly what I've eaten and what I still should put into my body, just as I need to know how much cash is in my bank account before I go out shopping, or petrol in the tank of the car before I go for a long drive.
  • Machka9
    Machka9 Posts: 23,010 Member
    I don't know if "Is logging sustainable long term?" is the best question. Some people have to log long term, others don't. Doing something unnecessary that you don't even like, is not sustainable. But if you need it, and like it, it's sustainable.

    I think there's a dynamic between habits, attitudes and food environment. Every person has their ways of thinking about certain things, and like certain things, but that can change - when you start doing something differerent(ly), you may end up liking that better than what you did before. Sometimes you need a "positive attitude" to make that change happen, sometimes it just happens. Sometimes a new environment sets off a change in habits. Sometimes new habits force a change of your environment.

    I have counted calories before, in another program, and I can deeply relate to your points. MFP was different for me, though. It was no judgement, just a calorie goal to hit, and macros, if I wanted. This freedom and taking personal responsibility had a tremendous impact on my relationship with food. Food was no longer a dichotomy of boring but good for me vs delicious but unhealthy. Logging in here made me seek out the best I could get for my calories, both in nutrition and in taste. It actually turned out I love most nutritious foods, and I can eat anything in moderation. I had just misunderstood, and when I had tried to "eat healthy", I had eaten unbalanced and restrictive (low fat, low sugar, low salt) and never felt relaxed and curious enough to really get to know all the differerent flavors of real food. In this process I practiced mindful eating - I paid attention to portion sizes and feedback from my body and brain. I also started to really enjoy cooking - I could make whatever I wanted and make it taste delicious, it's easy and a lot cheaper, so now I go out to eat only if I "have to" (away from home, meeting someone).

    I logged in here for a year, hit maintenance, then used Fitbit for another six months. I was initially ready to keep on logging indefinitely, but it started to feel burdensome as well as unnecessary and limiting - my appetite wouldn't quite hit what I had prelogged, but my weight was stable, I had no trouble sticking to appropriate portions and my urge to nibble was gone, and I saw how little precision logging actually provided, while what was actually needed, was consistency over time. In the meantime, I had started planning (and thus logging) my meals in a spreadsheet (better overview and faster). So I stopped tracking. I had also started weighing daily, and that was a good move, because I made other changes and the same time and miscalculated, and my weight started to climb. But some simple adjustments took care of it.

    Since then, I have learnt new things every week. It's a challenging process that feels meaningful. I'm so grateful to MFP and the community.

    Well, this certainly isn't the first time @kommodevaran made the point I'd been planning to make before I did, and much more eloquently too! Your question doesn't have a yes or no answer: some people are going to be like @machka9 up there (and me, for that matter) and find logging to be not a chore at all. I've got a color coded spreadsheet (two, actually, since I started a new one for 2017) and I actually find it motivating to watch those numbers and graphs move around every day. I suspect that I wouldn't have much difficulty sustaining this into maintenance, although I'm already moving towards looser measuring and logging. For other people, it's not sustainable, and it sounds like you're in that camp. That's totally fine! Logging is just a tool. So long as you have some way of monitoring and controlling your intake and output as necessary, you're going to be fine.


    I've been logging my cycling since 1990 ... every single kilometre.
    I've been logging my walking and food since 2015.

    Like you, I've got colour coded spreadsheets, graphs and all sorts.

    It all feels really natural to me. :)

  • I’ve been logging for 90 days. It’s not sustainable for me. Just now, I logged all of yesterday because I forgot yesterday. It’s the first day I’ve forgotten, but I’ll need to set reminders to keep me doing it. It really does help keep me on track, and I know it helps.
  • cnbbnc
    cnbbnc Posts: 1,265 Member
    Haven’t read any other replies, but I know what you’re saying. It just depends on the person. Some choose to log forever, and some will eventually decide that they’ve learned how to eat differently and don’t have to anymore. Some will log during the week and opt not to on weekends to give themselves a break.

    Then there are those like me. I’ve been here 2.5yrs and have reached points where I got sick of picking apart every meal I ate. I’d stop logging for a while but still be mindful and monitor my weight. If my weight started creeping back up I would begin logging again to get back to where I was.

    It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing deal, but I do think it’s good to stick with until you really feel that you have a better handle on your food. The app shouldnt be viewed as punishment or a chore. It’s just a way of teaching people how to change habits.
  • Marykaylady2010
    Marykaylady2010 Posts: 69 Member
    I’ve notice the more items I log and meals I create for myself the easier it is. I’m not sure I would log for ever but logging now keeps me on track and makes me familiar with the actual calories in some of my go to foods or the things I would order while out to eat thinking I am being good are half of my calories for the day. I don’t think I’ll be weight my carrots in 5 years but I will have a much more accurate idea of what a serving of carrots, chicken, or chips is