Saturday, January 8, 2011

Photo Food Log Experiment

Whenever I try to start a new weight loss regimen I always buy an empty journal to tuck into my purse so I can record everything I eat into it. I will normally record things diligently for the first few days, and then slowly start to stop using it. It is far to easy to "forget" those small noshes or "record them later".

It was suggested to me to instead take a photo of every thing that you eat. This serves several purposes:

1. Forces you to record your food BEFORE consumption. Meaning you must consciously decide to eat something, which can help eliminate all of those single mints, or small snacks you normally forget about.
2. Helps discourage poor eating. I mean who really wants to take a picture of a bag of chips.
3. Serves as a better visual aid of what you are putting into your body.

So between the dates of 12/28 and 1/1 I decided to take a photo food log of what I was eating. Most of the pictures represent a typical day. I tried my best to eat normally as I would if I were not on a diet so I could try to pinpoint specific things I need to work on. However, knowing I had to take a picture of whatever I ate did help discourage a lot of excess eating.

Here is what I ate:
*Note* Calories were calculated using they are only estimates.

Day 1 : 2 cups of pomegranate seeds (289 cal), 5 homemade peanut butter balls (1200 cal), Burrito bowl from Qdoba (403 cal), diet peach snapple, diet pepsi, 2 cups whole wheat pasta with tomato sauce spinach and feta cheese(450 cal).

(~2342 calories)

Day 2: 2 cups pomegranate seeds (298 cal), 4 homemade peanut butter balls (960 cal), plate of chicken tabrizi (500 cal), 2 diet pepsi, 3 cups french fries w/ ketchup (600 cal) (the chicken tenders are not mine).

(~2358 calories)

Day 3: 1 medium pear (81 cal), 24 oz diet V* splash (30 cal), 1 piece beef jerky (82 cal), burrito bowl from Qdoba (420 cal), diet peach snapple, 2 berger cookies (280 cal), 1 bag nature valley nut clusters (420 cal), 1 diet cherry pepsi, 3 oz pork tenderloin (240 cal), 1 cup peas (131 cal), 1.5 cup brown rice (400 cal)

(~2084 calories)

Day 4: 1 medium pear (81 cal), 1 grande gingerbread frappuccino w/ whipped cream (300 cal), Indian food buffet: 2 cups rice (720 cal), 1.5 cups vegetable curry (137 cal), .5 cup palak paneer (65 cal), 2 pieces Naan (158), 1 cup fried onions (181 cal), 1 diet pepsi, 1 bag cream cookies (650 cal), 2.5 cups home made potatoe soup w/ cheese (400 cal), 2 oatmeal cream pies (340 cal)

(~3032 calories!)


WOW! It's no dang wonder I can't lose weight.

I always think I am making healthy decisions, because I eat fruit for breakfast, only eat whole wheat pastas and breads, try my best to eat a lot of veggies. I guess its easy for me to forget about all of the calorie dense snacks I eat.

The peanut butter balls were a Christmas gift from my sister, I felt obligated to eat them. Maybe it wasn't such a great gift after all. I should try to say no to offered snacks (the jerky was an offered snack in the office).

I also notice a lot of my snacking happens in the car (pretty much every time I stop at a gas station I get a snack) that is definitely going to have to stop. I also make a stop or two to the snack machine in the cafeteria at work, and that is also going to have to stop.

I only drink 2 diet drinks a day but I think I will try to cut back on that too because the artificial sugars probably aren't very healthy. Also I rarely stop at Starbucks, so I don't feel very guilty about that indulgence but I could ask for skim milk and skip the whipped cream to eliminate some calories if I really crave one.

Also the dinner of french fries is not a normal meal. That night I went to a sporting event and since I hate hamburgers and hot dogs I didn't have much choice in the way of food. In this instance I should have left for the event earlier because as I was leaving (and after I consumed the most expensive french fries for dinner) I saw a few healthier places around the arena I could have eaten at.

So that's it. I found the first few steps to improving myself and my health.

Firstly, make a more conscious decision to eat healthier no matter the situation. (i.e. My office has a lot of pizza days. I should keep an emergency healthy meal in the cafeteria for those days.) Stop eating in my car, this will probably stop a lot of unconscious snacking while I fight traffic home. Cut down on sodas and diet drinks, and try to eat between 1500 cal and 2000 cal per day.

I can't see myself doing this for every mea1, since it seems like an odd habit. However, I would suggest that anyone who is having struggles with weight loss to do this for at least a week or two. It will probably really help you see your vices so that you can fix them.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ellie! I think I need to give this photo food journal a try - again. I did this once a long time ago and it did help me see what I'm eating. I'm like you about writing it all down. I get tired of it and rebel, lol.

    Thanks for following my blog, btw. I look forward to following yours. Here's to great success in this new year!