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Writing About Food

January 5, 2012

I’m going to get deep here. Yesterday I talked about exercise, today, diet. I don’t want to be too long-winded, but it’s suffice to say that until I graduated college my diet kind of sucked. I didn’t eat a vegetable (literally I refused to eat them) until I was a senior in college. Undoubtably I will pay for this later in life, but for now let’s focus on the positives.

After college I wanted to lose weight (let’s just say I had packed on the L-B’s in college). Luckily for me I was unemployed and living with my parents which gave me plenty of time and free range over their (mostly) healthy kitchen. Between graduating college and starting my first job (about 5 months) I lost approximately 25lbs. How? I cut portion size, I made healthy choices, and a kept a food journal. Which brings me to my theme here, writing about food. During that summer after college I didn’t count calories or points, without realizing it I was probably practicing intuitive eating.

Fast forward to getting my first job and combine an office full of snacks with some depression the first year I lived in NYC and you get me gaining back 10 of the pounds I had lost. In the spring of 2009 there was a lot of dieting (healthy dieting, I proudly add) going on in my office and I decided to join in and I joined Weight Watchers (aka food journaling). Combine WW with my newly-found love of exercising and you get a 20 pound weight loss. Couple those things with 2 weeks of attending the US Open (lots of exercise and only 1 real meal a day) and a case of the swine flu and you get me losing another 10lbs.

For those keep track that’s about a 45lb weight loss from college to my lowest weight. I stayed at my lowest weight for about a year until I packed on an extra 10lbs or so (what I’m trying to lose as part of my new years resolutions).

When I first outlined my resolution (earlier this week) I didn’t say I was going to count calories or food journal. But then I came across someone’s recommendation for My Fitness Pal and I thought I would check it out. Well, 4 days later, I’m really liking it.

I have tried counting calories before, but I always got discouraged trying to search the database of food or by how few calories I was given. But I’m really making an effort to be different and thankfully My Fitness Pal is really helping with that by being very easy to use and not at all frustrating (and FREE!).

There have been two things that have really stood out to me. First, when I put in all of the foods I planned on eating in a day it was almost EXACTLY at my calorie goal. This made me realize that my body knows what I should be eating. And, that if I ate what I planned to eat, I would be meeting my needs. It’s the extra snaking (boredom eating) that really throws me off. Second, I realized that the other times in my life when I’ve dropped significant amounts of weight have been when I’ve kept a food journal (which I talked about above), it’s something I never realized before, but hopefully it bodes well going forward.

I am worried about traveling for 8 days. I will be eating at restaurants, hotel buffets, and conference spreads. Part of me wants to completely not count calories. I’m afraid I might find the process cumbersome and frustrating, which could possible discourage me when I come back to my “regular” life. For now I plan on making smart choices, making sure I get a lot of fruits and vegetables (something I always struggle with when I travel), and maybe doing a rough calorie count each day.

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