Tracking: The most integral part of the Weight Watchers plan (or any plan for that matter). yet sometimes the most neglected and/or cheated part of the program. I know that Weight Watchers has the Simply Filling plan (eat what you want as long as it’s a power food, rely on hunger signals, your 49 weeklies are then spent on non-power foods..that’s the really basic idea of it), and i know many have found success with it, however I was not one of them, and probably never will be one of them. I don’t have the self control to rely on hunger signals; I need sizes, portions, and numbers to live by. This is why tracking is so important.
Raise your hand if you have ever lied (lies of omission count) to your tracker since starting your healthier lifestyle…
**I know you all are mentally raising your hands at this very moment**
It is one of the self-sabotaging moves that we are guilty of when it comes to taking our healthy lifestyle seriously. Why is it that we think that if we don’t put it in the tracker it means we didn’t eat it? The tracker might not say “(enter guilty food here..half of a pizza, entire chocolate cake, box of cookies, etc)” but your body most certainly will. I sound a little rough about this topic simply because this is what I am most often guilty of. My mind tries to tell me, like the little devil sitting on my left shoulder, If I don’t write it down, it means it just didn’t happen, right? WRONG!
My back to basic goals with tracking are simple: Write down EVERY SINGLE THING that goes in my mouth. Weight Watchers makes it incredibly easy to do so, especially if you’re a smart phone user. My iPhone is always near me, and the Weight Watchers app is sitting there on my home page. I have absolutely no excuse to not track what eat. NO EXCUSE!
Let me tell you a little about the Weight Watchers app (free, with WW membership). You have access to the entire WW online database right from your phone. Access your tracker, Points Plus Calculator and even their information on restaurants’ values. Have something in front of you that you can’t track right at this moment, perhaps a plate of food while you’re out with a friend and you don’t want to spend 5 minutes tracking every item on it? Just snap a pic with the Snap and Track option and you can come back later! At the grocery store? Get the Weight Watchers Barcode Scanner (also free, with Weight Watchers membership). You can scan the items in the grocery store and a Points value will just appear. No muss, no fuss, 2 seconds. Item not in the database? Then the Points Plus calculator will appear so you can punch in the info yourself. Seriously guys, smartphones make it excuse proof.
There is also something to be said for the good old paper tracking route. THere is something nice and concrete about busting out my 3 month tracker book, which tends to sit neglected in a drawer thanks to my dependance on my iPhone. Research shows that people who write down what they eat consume 30% less calories in a day than someone who doesn’t. That being said, the awesome power of writing something down doesn’t just reign over our food. Goal setting, lists, motivational post-its, and things of the like all make us feel powerful and in control when we write things down. Thoughts in your head keeping you up at night? Experts say write your thoughts down to get them out of your head and into the world. The satisfaction you get from writing things down is incredible. When I take that pen to my tracker, I note that there are a limited number of lines on which to write foods. I can’t eat more than that (or so I tell myself). The 3 month tracker gives you a few pages to plan your week as well, so you can write down meal and exercise plans and track goals for the week. People who don’t use smart phones have a very reliable tool as well. The basic paper tracker is your friend!
Now, I am obviously speaking primarily in Weight Watchers terms because that’s the program I intend to use the rest of my life, however, the benefit of tracking goes well beyond the Weight Watchers program. Not on WW? No problem! Smartphone users, there are tons of apps out there, many for free, that let you track your calories and your activity, and they usually have a nice database of information for you too. Websites like SparkPeople.com (the place I had success pre-WW) is a great place with all of your tracking tools and an insanely active and supportive community to boot. Not into the digital tracking? Get a notebook and one of the many books with calorie count information in them, utilize nutrition labels and restaurant nutrition guides and make your own tracker. The possibilities are endless and the rewards will be fruitful.
So, my friends, get yourself a new notebook and a pretty pen (I always get a new pen when I start something like a new journal…makes it feel special), or open up that app on your phone and keep the WW tracker pulled up on your computer and get tracking! Let no food that passes your lips go unregistered!
If you bite it, write it! 🙂