If I somehow unsuspectingly walked into a room and found myself confronted by lights and a camera and a microphone held by the one and only Oprah and she asked me to name the ONE THING that makes the biggest impact on weight management, I know exactly what I’d say.
It wouldn’t be low carb or intermittent fasting or snacking or even planning (oh my, you know how I love me some planning!)
Without hesitation I would declare: LOGGING.
Keeping a food log is the best thing you can do for managing your weight, hands down.
Research shows this again and again.
It doesn’t matter if it’s electronically, like in an App, or hand written. Keeping track of what you put in your mouth connects us to the reality of our behaviors and holds up a mirror so we can really see what’s going on.
Then the mystery is solved.
Clear as day why you’re losing or gaining or staying the same.
And yet, many people don’t/won’t do it.
It can take on many forms, but the number one reason people don’t log is that they don’t want to know. Period.
Denial is not just a river in Egypt.
Being in the dark about how much food we’re taking in keeps us from having uncomfortable feelings—but only temporarily.
Because when we feel our waistbands getting tighter, we feel uncomfortable both physically and emotionally.
Discomfort either way.
Growth discomfort or regret discomfort.
I’ll always choose growth discomfort because it’s cleaner and motivates me to make a decision. A conscious decision.
Regret discomfort inevitably brings along some extra baggage in the form of self-punishment and loathing. Messy and really uncomfortable.
So anytime I hear any excuses about why someone isn’t logging, I know the truth. Because I’ve been there.
My current logging streak is 274 days.
It’s not in the thousands, like some of the people I work with (you guys rock!) because I’ve taken breaks from logging.
It’s different flavors of the same reason every time: I was starting to overeat and I didn’t want to stop. Now, I didn’t “realize” this at the time. It sounded more like, “Oh, I forgot, I’ll do it tomorrow” and tomorrow doesn’t come around for a month. At which time I’m prompted to open up my App when the jeans were just a little snugger than I like.
Every time I’ve stopped logging I’ve gained. But only EVERY time.
I get it.
The discomforts of writing down 800 calories of tortilla chips feels unnecessary. But it’s those entries—the ones you don’t want to write—that help you the most.
After days (or weeks) in a row with 500 extra calories you get to have a convo with yourself. “What is it I want?”
It might be that the chips win right now. OK. As long as it’s a conscious decision, you’re going to be ok.
It might be that there’s a relatively easy fix. You try it and after a tweak or two, it works! Yay! Disaster averted.
Nice job. Brought to you by your willingness to keep your eyes open and accept what's going on.
You win that way. But only every time.