Food Journaling

Yesterday, a Facebook friend mentioned in a status update that she had hit her pre-pregnancy weight.

She had her baby at the end of October.  I am not sure how much weight she gained during her pregnancy; but let me say for the record: I had my baby on August 16th.  I am still not at pre-prego weight.

It occurs to me that my weight loss has been very, very slow.

This isn’t a bad thing.  I exclusively nurse Ailie (though as of 4 months she is also doing fruits and veggies), so I was very reticent to cut any calories early on.  I listened to my body, and fed it as often as it commanded.  I didn’t necessarily feed it the right things, however.

I’ve been keeping a food journal since September.  It’s totally a freebie from Oprah’s Lifeclass, which I unfortunately never had a moment to enjoy.  But it works like a champ for this purpose.  (Sit back and enjoy my impeccable photography for a moment as well.)

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Here is my very first entry, which continued for TWO PAGES:

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Where do I begin?

  • I ate two of the small-sized bagels for breakfast, slathered in cream cheese.
  • I ate a Smart Ones for lunch, but the chicken was too nasty to actually choke down.
  • I had a granola bar AND pulled pork on 1/2 of a hamburger bun for a SNACK.
  • A kind woman from my Mom’s League brought us dinner that evening from our local grocery store.  It was delicious, but not low-cal.
  • She also brought cupcakes.  I ate TWO.
  • Then I ate a 1/2 bag of microwave popcorn.
  • Grand total?  74480 calories.  Approximately.

It was easy to fall back on convenience foods with a newborn at home; but I’m quite shocked at all the processed stuff I was allowing in my diet.  Today, you won’t find microwave meals or flavored cream cheese in the vicinity.  I also no longer allow bagels or traditional English Muffins in the homestead; instead, we eat Ezekial bread or Ezekial “English Muffins” when we need our carbs (which is mostly daily).  Pretzels are an occasional treat, and we’ve even done away with organic granola bars.  (We make granola – in many forms – ourselves.) We also don’t do microwave popcorn anymore.  Instead we pop it on the stove with some organic canola oil (also somewhat controversial, but the oil is made for high heat and OH MY GOD MY HEAD WILL EXPLODE WITH FOOD RULES SOON).

(It is a testament to my husband’s deep love for me that he has not left me for a Big Mac.)

And here is yesterday’s entry.

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Almost everything I eat during the week (weekends we still go out to dinner at least once), is homemade or follows the less-than-five-ingredient rule, save the bread.  The granola we ate this week is adapted from this recipe, and it’s out-of-this-world.  The meatloaf I made on Monday night is a Mediterranean turkey dish from an old issue of Self Magazine.  (Can’t find a link so I’ll post that recipe soon.)  Yesterday, I roasted a chicken and carrots with a host of spices (sage, thyme, rosemary, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper) and a bit of EVOO.  The eggplant experiment was delicious, a take on this recipe.

(Oh, and I am HOPELESSLY addicted to chocolate chips.  They really cannot be in the house, or they are not safe.  Even writing about them is making me salivate.)

The bottom line?  I see progress.  We are getting healthier.  Slow and steady.  As of today, I’ve lost 20.2 pounds since starting my food journal.  My husband?  He’s lost ten pounds since Thanksgiving.  He may begrudge me taking his Frosted Mini-Wheats now and again, but the results are difficult to argue against.

Do you keep a food journal?  I find that keeping track of everything holds me accountable, even when I’m not eating particularly well.

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8 thoughts on “Food Journaling

  1. I’ll answer your question! just stated logging my food with the MyFitnessPal app. (Also been using your fooducate suggestion to make better choices)

    The danger comes when I decide, “screw it – I’m not keeping track today” and then go crazy and eat three granola bars in a row.

    I am trying not to hate this unnamed person who is back to pre-preggo weight. Mine was end of October and I still have 20 pounds to go. Reading this blog helps me stay focused – so thanks for writing it!

    • Thanks for the compliment! I have used the Lose It app as well. And there are absolutely days where I too stop recording and eat, say, pizza and birthday cake and then everything else that is in our pantry… But I just get right the next day, jotting everything down and vowing to stop the madness. I know you are doing great; it took me 4 months to get 20 pounds off. Stupid Claire Danes and her ridiculousness. We’ll get there!

  2. Weight loss just did not show up on my radar for months after each baby. As my mom always says, “your body tells the story of your life”. I was okay with my extra lbs letting people know that I had a new baby and would rather be sleeping or eating copious amounts of buffalo chicken pretzels (mmmm MSG).
    Good job food journaling!

    • As you know, I was a bit crazy about getting back into shape; but I just didn’t feel like me with all that extra cushioning. I felt like this was something I could do for me to make me feel better – and the sooner the better. Maybe with the next I will relax a bit. Man, remember those BC pretzels? Ridiculous.

  3. I used to (and every now and then I still do for a week or so to get myself back in check!) but sometimes I feel like journaling keeps me *too* focused on food… I go in and out of it (but I def always do it when I’ve been out of the health game for a little – it’s the best way to set up a routine/discipline!).. i was going to suggest you download the ‘lose it’ app if you have an iPhone.. i have it on mine and it helps when you’re on the go – it’s basically just a food journal, but it’s nice because you can add in all your own foods (i never use the generic ones on there).. setting those foods up take a while, but once they’re done you don’t have to enter them again and if you eat the same combinations of foods a lot, it stores them so you can just select the whole meal at once so it saves time! …ps: i emailed you 🙂

    • I actually have thought about that too while food journaling – I don’t want to fixate on every morsel to the point where it becomes unhealthy. I’m not sure when I will be ready to let this go (maybe a few months of maintenance?),but for now, I’m digging it. It’s also highly amusing to go back and read “Didn’t wake up and eat a granola bar and cheesestick in the middle of the night!” I was absurdly proud when I stopped raiding the fridge after nursing.

  4. It took me 9 months with each kid to get back to my goal weight, and a lifetime of struggle to stay there. I seem to be a staunch violator of the WW mantra- it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle, because once I accomplish my goal & maintenance, I stop tracking and the weight creeps back on.
    I use the iTrackbites app for my food log because it has the WW points calculator and points lists built in. I believe you can designate it to do either the old points method or the points plus. Also, I always have 1 “go nuts” day per week where I don’t track and don’t worry. As long as I get back to tracking the next day it doesn’t seem to bother my progress, and it helps me mentally a lot.
    I want to start trying some of your recipes… now if you can just do my food shopping for me too? Thanks!

    • I love the idea of a “go nuts” day! Once I reach my DietBet weight, I need to do this to have a treat to look forward to… Even one treat a week might do it for me, but I tend to not be able to do anything in moderation.

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