Keeping a Food Journal…to the Nth Degree!

Since everyone is doing their end-of-year reporting and Best of 2012 lists, I thought I’d do a report of my own about Chad’s progress. This is only possible because Chad has been keeping his diet records on myfitnesspal.com for 135 days in a row…ever since the 40 by 40 project began! (Actually, we had already been using the website for over a year on and off previously.) His consistency has been amazing, and it is useful and interesting to look back and see the progress, what the trouble spots have been and the choices we have made when it comes to food and drink.

Chad may be extreme in his compliance, but I believe that’s why he is having such extreme success! Further, he has been honest enough to track his off days, holidays, weekends, etc., even when he is over his limit. This is also an import factor to his success. He keeps up his routine of journaling, so he never has to start the habit over, and he can see the differences in his good and not-so-good days in black and white when he looks at the calorie totals at the end of the day.

To recap, we have an upper calorie limit set for him at 3300 calories per day, a sort of “weekend limit,” and his “hard limit” had been 2100 cal, but is now 2400. Taking a look at the 135 days of 40 by 40 so far:Net Calories per Day

As you can see, Chad had only a small percentage of days when he was over the upper limit, and those days have been mostly weekends and holidays–and there are many more of those days than 9, so he’s been good even on the weekends. The majority of his days, over 70%, are below his “everyday limit.” Also, it is important to remember these are net calories, meaning the calories for exercise have been subtracted from his calories. For example, if he ate 3500 calories and burned 1000 in exercise, his net total would be 2500. (The fact he can burn so many calories during exercise makes it much easier…this table would look MUCH different if it was just calories eaten!) We both feel very good about this data, and I was surprised how many days he actually netted less than 2100! Those days often had over a thousand calories burned in exercise, and was when he was losing the most. As you may know, one of my jobs has become keeping him from losing too fast, so I will have to make sure he doesn’t get too severe!

As is the case with most people, the holiday season from Thanksgiving through New Years, have a not-so-normal eating pattern. The same is the case with us, and you can read an example of that by reading Chad’s description of our Christmas Eve dinner. Once the year starts to settle in a bit, I’m sure Chad will see his journal starting to look more like it did before Thanksgiving, and he will be a bit more consistent with his weight loss than he has been the last month. The great news for him is that he has wonderful healthy habits of eating well, keeping a journal and exercising that he has carried through the toughest part of the year, so he’ll have an easier January than he has in the past. I’m excited to see what comes next!

[There have been many studies indicating that keeping a food and/or exercise journal increases weight loss and compliance to whatever program or lifestyle change you are working on. There are even studies that show that when people write down what they eat for a “pre-test” they often consciously or subconsciously change what they eat, presumably because they can’t stand writing down what they would have eaten if it wasn’t for the journal! Also, it doesn’t matter in what form a journal takes–an old notebook, a pre-made food diary form (you can find many online for free) or a digital or online program–just find what fits the best with your lifestyle and use it!]

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2 thoughts on “Keeping a Food Journal…to the Nth Degree!

  1. Pingback: 30 Blogs on Maintaining Weight Loss » Nanny.NET

  2. Pingback: Her Fitness Hut » 30 Blogs on Maintaining Weight Loss Her Fitness Hut

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