What I’ve Learned From Two Weeks Using MyFitnessPal

How many of you track your food intake? How long have you been doing so, and do you recall any revelations you had when you started?

I resisted meal tracking like it was the devil. I assumed I would confirm, through tracking my food intake, that I was eating way more than my body physically needed every day.

I thought when I started tracking my meals my terrible relationship with food would become glaringly obvious.

I thought I would see confirmation that I was “bad.” That I was flawed. That I wanted food for the sake of having food. That I was using food for emotional comfort and was eating far more than my body needed.

I assumed I would learn I needed to cut my intake dramatically in order to live the healthier lifestyle I’m striving to achieve.

And, of course, I expected cutting down my caloric intake would be brutally challenging. I expected I would be even more hungry and would feel even more deprived all the time than I already did.

Plus, psychologically, I feared I would feel I was punishing my body and trying to force it to conform to rules that didn’t feel in any way natural.

I didn’t want to put myself through all of that. So, I didn’t track my meals, and didn’t want to start doing so.

This changed about two weeks ago when I had some breakthroughs about my overeating tendencies. (Thoughts on Overeating)

I’m so glad now that I gave it a try. As it turns out, I was wrong about how meal tracking might go for me. Horribly, horribly wrong.

None of my fears have come to fruition.

In fact, I have learned that prior to starting to track my meals, the way I was trying to eat was setting me up for failure. My expectations for myself were horribly off base. But until I started tracking my meals, I didn’t realize it.

Tracking my meals using MyFitnessPal has shown me that I was doing everything wrong.

Table 1: Previous “Ideal Day”

FoodCaloriesCarbsFatProtein
Breakfast: 3 eggs fried in butter2511g18g19g
Lunch: Slow Cooker Chicken and Sausage Creole (no rice) (recipe)28717g11g30g
Dinner: Easy Paleo Chicken Soup (recipe)30218g5g52g
Snack: nothing
Totals84036g34g101g
Goals1480111g49g148g
Difference64075g15g47g

Table 2: Yesterday’s Meals

FoodCaloriesCarbsFatProtein
Breakfast: Bagel with cream cheese, tomato, smoked tuna53557g23g30g
Lunch: Slow Cooker Chicken and Sausage Creole with brown rice35726g13g32g
Dinner: Easy Paleo Chicken Soup30218g5g52g
Snack: Truefit Meal Replacement Protein Shake with Almond Coconut Milk24017g10g27g
Totals1434118g50g142g
Goals1480111g49g148g
Difference46-7g-1g6g

The first table shows what I always expected of myself. It shows how I was trying to force myself to eat. If I had managed to eat that way on any given day, I would have thought of it as a “good” day. I would have been very proud of myself.

I thought my three meals were sizable and appropriate, and if I wanted more food than what I was eating it was a sign there was something wrong with me.

If I gave in and ate more, I felt like I had failed. It was a “bad” day. If I had a bad day, I felt I was bad. I had misbehaved. I felt awful about myself.

Revelations

There are a TON of problems with this mindset that I won’t go into here. Suffice it to say it is one of the hallmarks of a seriously dysfunctional and toxic relationship with food. If this idea is new to you, I recommend looking at this article: Reject The Diet Mentality: The Futility Of Dieting

The point I want to make here is my nutritional goals were unattainable and unhealthy, and I didn’t realize it.

Only 840 calories? No wonder I was unable to control my eating. No wonder I would overeat all the time. I was hungry!

Now that I am tracking my meals, I’m eating a lot more every day than I’m used to. It’s actually proving to be surprisingly difficult to meet my nutritional needs. In fact, I struggled to get my calorie and protein intake up to a healthy level yesterday.

Hence needing a separate snack. Having the protein shake on standby for those times when I know my body needs more food has been incredibly helpful. Cans of tuna fish help, too.

Recognizing that I hadn’t been eating enough, that the reason I kept wanting to eat more wasn’t that there was something wrong with me, has been revelatory and deeply emotionally satisfying.

Did you make any similar realizations when you started tracking?


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One thought on “What I’ve Learned From Two Weeks Using MyFitnessPal

  1. Pingback: A life without hot peppers? How will I survive? | A Twist On Life

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