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To Track Or Not To Track . . . ???? Shout Out to JEANKNEE!!

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Wednesday, July 08, 2020

I really enjoyed the comments on yesterday's blog -- where I celebrated how DOVES EYES so neatly linked resilience to more intuitive nutrition approaches.

And that evoked a really interesting comment from JEANKNEE!! With all her scientific training, JEANKNEE has long been been our stats queen here at Spark People!

She tracks. She graphs. And over months and years, not days.

But: she had never tracked with a view to "self discipline" or "self denial". For her, tracking of food and exercise was always based upon providing her body with the sound nutrition that best supported optimal health, documenting what foods evoked health issues for her . . . and she also noted fluctuations in weight as signals that inflammation or other issues required her attention. It's been a highly scientific and intensely personal experiment, well documented!!


"Ironically, I had not been willing to track or give consideration to food at all until I thought about food being a form of nourishment. And then the question became: What am I choosing to nourish myself? And, what supports me best? The tracking has simply helped me answer those questions. And, given that I've had a body highly reactive to food since birth, tracking has been a useful source of information, especially when the docs start asking me questions.

It has been really interesting to see how much the caloric intake has varied over the years depending on what's going on for me (physical activity, health, etc.) I've seen months where the nutritional intake has averaged less than 1300 kcal per day and months during which that nutritional intake has averaged in excess of 2400 kcal per day for months at a time. Those levels have been primarily intuitively driven.

Given the health challenges I've experienced, I am quite pleased with my ability to nourish my body more consciously (tapping into that body wisdom) and sustain a relatively steady weight. Although, my weight does fluctuate outside the parameters considered healthy. Not surprising, since I continue to live with health challenges that directly impact weight.

What's funny to me is that I have learned what healthy weight trends are for me and when I start to see those trends 'out of line' so to speak, they serve as a caution flag or indication that there's been a 'disturbance in the force'."

Yes, tracking CAN be used in support of innate body wisdom and intuition . . . of course it can!! And not as (I commented to JEANKNEE) a form of loathing self-reproach or self-flagellation!!

I myself track track tracked for years and years and years -- beginning about age 12 with my little calorie book and small note book that went everywhere with me . . . and until 2018 or so. I was desperate to control my weight. But in the process, I did learn quite a lot about nutrition that's best for me.

When I stopped tracking to try intuitive eating (combined with intermittent fasting and gentle exercise) I really did not change the way I'd learned to eat: for optimal nutrition. I'm still eating my Greek yogourt and berries, my salads and soups. Maximum veggies, fruits, lean protein, healthy fats, some whole grains.

I had learned to love eating this way. I over-estimated the lure of potato chips and simple carbs: when I permitted myself to eat intuitively, I did discover I could eat them moderately or not at all: without feeling deprived or craving.

There is no "one right way". Not at all. Track or don't track. Do or not do, but there's nothing wrong with giving it a try!!

The right way is personal and individual: whatever form of self-care works to bring each of us to a place of peaceful living in the present: content within our own skins.

We'll "know" it when we find it. We can trust the innate wisdom of our own bodies, when we listen to them. With the compassion and the kindness we express to other beings on the face of this earth!!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • MARTHA324
    To track or not to track....I choose to track. And I do it because it works and it helps me to look back and see how my weeks have gone from the nourishment I take in and the expenditure of calories through exercise. I don't punish myself when I see I've gone over my calorie goal...it just is. If my weight trends up or down, these logs help me to understand why. Jeanknee's stats amaze me.

    You continually make me think about going I.E. and in many ways I do. Pretty much eat what I what when I'm hungry. Over the years what I want more times than not is healthy. And I pay attention to hunger. As you write, we have to do what works for us.

    You constantly inspire me. emoticon
    28 days ago
    29 days ago
    I am only successful at weight maintenance without tracking for a very short time. (Think a weekend on the road.) Tracking and weighing keep me accountable to ME. I NEVER want to be in the 230s again. That was my starting point. I am much happier and healthier here in this 145-155 range. emoticon
    29 days ago
    When I track I do much better, been crazy busy lately and I have not tracked like I should , time to get back on track.
    29 days ago
    Tracking my food and exercise, however it is not a big thing any more. My first efforts were not to eat at all, a kind of "you ate it now work it off before you get more" attitude of punishment. Of course it didn't last and even drove me to eat more :)

    High protein, eggs, chicken, some beef mince, kale, cauli, carrots, small piece of dark chocolate, water, water, water, eat breakfast and dinner, housework, Zumba, Beauty the cow, :) all these things are now joy for me.

    Had episode with my heart; over exerting myself at the start and now am on meds, GP is totally with me in my goals and has said 72 KGs or less is great for me with the excess skin.

    The encouragement and friendship of my GP also gives me a peace to do what is right for me. When she rang to tell me to self isolate as I was in the 'at risk' group, I was able to say I was 69.3 kgs ... so great ... she was amazed and pleased for me too :)

    30 days ago
  • BJAEGER307
    30 days ago
    30 days ago
    I'm with Poindextra, tracking is like balancing my checkbook. (Not that I actually do that any more, but it's the concept.) With meals, I'll mentally tally my calories and know if I'm in range or not. Then tracking online helps me ensure that yes I am. Or oops, a bit over today, better go a little under tomorrow. Or wow, that turned out to be fewer calories than I thought, how interesting. No judgement, just more knowledge for the bank of information.

    And yes, I eat intuitively - but the part of my brain connected to my mouth is good at fooling the other side of my brain, the logical side, the one that likes numbers. So yes, I eat intuitively - but tracking makes sure that my mouth isn't in control, my whole system is. Yeah, otherwise my mouth would only eat chocolate and shrimp, and then the rest of me would feel sick half the time. So I need tracking to keep my entire brain, and my entire being, involved in the process.

    30 days ago
    We just had a check-in with Hubby's doc. I track his sleep. I document each of his manic episodes and the meds he takes during them. Track, track, track. They tell a story of what has happened and what works and what doesn't.

    I gave up tracking and measuring my food ... too much leash yanking and too much focus on food.

    I've recently started journaling ... that is helping coz it's about my feeling, behaviors, hopes and dreams.

    I am finding this a lot more about ... self care.

    30 days ago
    Tracking for me keeps me accountable and gives me insight to what I'm doing wrong (which happens often) and what I'm doing right. Love the advice you gave emoticon emoticon emoticon
    30 days ago
    Tracking is time consuming but it is worth it.
    30 days ago
    Tracking for good nutrition...yes! Tracking for self-conflagration...NO! I think it is important to transition toward intuitive eating and relying less on 'documenting' and more on our innate abilities. The brain is a powerful weapon in our quest for wellness.

    30 days ago
    I detest tracking and only do it when required by a Spark challenge. I am very aware of what foods and how much I eat and know that avoiding processed foods and focussing on a diet planned around fresh fruits, veggies, lean protein and whole grains will allow me to remain at or very near my goal weight.
    My salute to Jeanne as well, she is an inspiration and teacher for all of us.
    30 days ago
  • PHOENIX1949
    emoticon emoticon
    30 days ago
    I have tracking to thank for getting rid of the last stubborn pounds. Its indeed a very useful tool if not to provide that eye-opener how much today's portions have gone totally out of control.
    I love your blogs and the thoughts they provoke giving us interesting comments as well.
    30 days ago
    30 days ago
    Although I no longer track, I do write down what I eat and know how the different foods affect me. I think, as with many of us, I revisit your (and others') blogs to see what pops up in the Comments section -- it took a number times clicking on JEANKNEE's SparkPage with the intention of thanking her for the insight, only to find that she keeps her page private. So, JEANKNEE, if you check out the comments: Thank You.
    30 days ago
    For me, tracking food is like keeping a checkbook. I know my budget and tracking helps me to stay within it, with no self-judgement or punishment. As with Jeanne, it also helps me to learn what foods support my health. My current focus is on getting more calcium from food, and tracking helps me to do that too.
    30 days ago
    This was such an interesting blog. I so admire Jeanne. Who wouldn't with her scientific mind! I track,so far that has been the most successful thing for me along with exercise! I wonder if when I go off my plan and grab a bag of chips and eat the whole thing am I rewarding myself or punishing myself. I don't think I do negative self talk but in my case do actions speak louder than words! More to think about!
    30 days ago
    The only way to know if it helps or not is to try! For sure.

    HUGS and thanks for sharing this wisdom.
    30 days ago
    I have tracked on and off since I have been on spark, weight has fluctuated some to go with it.. but not to go above the bmi range.
    30 days ago
  • _CYNDY55_
    Great blog….. emoticon
    I track everyday.
    30 days ago
    If it works for you, awesome!
    30 days ago
  • LYNCHD05
    For me tracking does work so I so it most days. I have taken a break sometimes but always go back.
    Whatever works right?
    30 days ago
  • THOMS1
    Good blog. I have always tracked from day one of spark. Most days it works for me but I don't think I coud ever look a potato chip in the eye or for that matter a piece of chocolate and not crave them. It must be something within me so I will pass them up in the grocery, refuse to have them in the house and keep on tracking. emoticon emoticon
    30 days ago
    Someday... over the rainbow... I might get to where you are, Ellen. A goal to be gently approached! emoticon

    And mega respect to the data-driven approach of JEANKNEE, which matched my brother's. I never could get to his level of detailed tracking!
    30 days ago
    We learn so much slung the way and even more with our experiment of one. And we’re not done yet!!
    30 days ago
    Finding what works for each of us is grand!
    30 days ago
    Living in that place of peace and contentment is all I need right now.
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    30 days ago
  • RAVEN145
    Great advice
    30 days ago
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