The Importance of Tracking Stuff
(Why I find it so painful and what to do about it)
I often try new things. This experimental MO has led me to discover many wonderful passions and pursuits. It’s what brought me to CrossFit, to my husband, and to health coaching and nursing. As a health coach and someone who is striving to improve, I occasionally try different eating approaches.
Eating Paleo, for example, helped me all but eliminate my digestive problems, and discover that I am allergic to both wheat/gluten and dairy.
I’ve also tried Zone (didn’t work for me)
Whole30 (Amazing experience)
And now I’m trying the Ketogenic eating approach.
Keto in a nutshell…without getting into the nitty gritty of keto, it’s an eating approach where you eat an abundance of healthy fats and few carbohydrates. Now, there’s no real limit to the amount of fat you can eat but the carbs are a bit in question. For most, to get into the ketogenic fat burning system you have to consume 50 or fewer carbs. Now, that’s not a lot of carbs because an apple has about 25 grams of carbs and a sweet potato has 27. So, you have to pick and choose your carbs and track your intake.
Why keto? For many keto has been a fantastic way to burn fat and lose weight. When your body stops looking for sugar (aka carbs) to burn for energy it turns to your fat stores. When the body burns these fat stores it turns the fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies. To measure if you’re in “ketosis” or the state of burning fat, people often measure their ketones through blood or urine testing. (I didn’t want to prick my finger every day, so I purchased some urine test strips, we’ll see how they do).
Back to tracking my carb intake.
Full disclosure, I hate tracking things. I hate measuring things. I just really feel stifled and my rebel comes out and fights with everything she has. It’s a constant inner battle for me to follow a diet like this because the last thing I want to do is pay attention to grams of anything. I am much more of a “how am I feeling?” type of dieter.
At any rate, I also want to experience the full impact of being keto and what it takes to get there. They say that there is incredible mental clarity and that you really feel energetic. And while I absolutely love the junk in my trunk (I really do) it would also be a bit interesting to see what happens to said junk when I’m fat burning.
My first step in this process (and what I recommend everyone do who is looking to make a dietary or lifestyle change) is to track what I’m currently doing. So, I spent a week tracking my carb intake. Turns out I often eat about 50, or fewer, grams of carbs for many days in a row and then I tend to go off the rails and eat 200.
So that initial tracking wasn’t so bad. I could embrace a “let’s see where we are” approach and I didn’t need to be retentive about it initially so if I actually ate 9 grapes, but I only recorded 8, well that was okay.
You have to track to have an accurate representation of where you are right now. If you don’t know, for example, how much you weigh, then you can’t take the next steps. You aren’t aware of what is possible or how to be successful.
You also have to track to know if you are actually achieving results. If I decide to lose 20 pounds, I can’t know if what I’m doing is working if I don’t occasionally weigh myself, right?
So tracking, while it may not be fun, is essential for success.
Now I’m Tracking for a Different Reason and It Kinda Sucks
So now I’m tracking with an eye toward restricting. Ah, there’s that word…restricting and my rebel is putting her fists up for a fight.
But yes, in order for me to eventually get to the point where I’m eating 50 or fewer carbs a day, I need to eat fewer than my daily norm (or in this case probably than my daily average norm considering I was bouncing around quite a bit).
So, my goal for this week is to eat less than 100 grams of carbs and to see how this feels. This gives me plenty of wiggle room and it should provide me with enough carbs to recover properly from my CrossFit workouts.
But it means I have to track and if I eat 9 f-ing grapes I have to record 9 f-ing grapes, not 8.
I’m using chronometer to track fat, protein, and carbs. So far, I like it and they have an app, so I can track when I’m on the road. You can also scan barcodes to add foods into the system that aren’t there.
Now to talk about how I’m shutting that rebel down and sticking to my plan…
That’s it for me in a nutshell. How on earth can I talk about keto with others, how can I coach, or empathize if I have not walked down the same, or a similar, path?
So, you, my lovely friends, are holding me accountable. I’m doing this, tracking each freaking grape, so that I can share my knowledge with you and be completely authentic and transparent about it.
You have to find your why and your own motivation.
While accountability will work for me on this one challenge, it won’t work for me on other things. You, when you’re making lifestyle changes, have to determine why you’re doing it. Are you doing it because you believe in it? Because you want to set an example for your children? Because you told your friend you’d go through it with them and hold one another accountable? Or because you simply want to and that’s enough for you?
Find your why. It helps you get through the sucky stuff, so you can experience the accomplishment.