As many of you know, I dual track on MyFitnessPal, along with tracking Weight Watchers SmartPoints. This week I reached a milestone on MFP of tracking for 1000 consecutive days!
This streak started on August 9th of 2013. I failed to track the 3 days before that date. I also missed a few days in July of that year. I had started tracking on MFP in March of 2013 when I bought my first Fitbit. I had quit going to Weight Watchers the previous October. I went back on February 22, 2013 and was up 10.8 pounds to 194.8 pounds. That number terrified me. My high weight had been around 207 pounds. I had gotten to about 161 pounds in early 2012, then regained after we moved. I had tried going back to Weight Watchers in the summer and fall of 2012. I got the ActiveLink when it came out, but that hadn’t been motivating for me (no matter what I did I never met the baseline…in retrospect, I think I had a bad unit).
So, finally I quit going and gained 10.8 pounds and resolved to get back on track. I went back, weighed in and decided to get a Fitbit. And, I decided that I was also going to calorie count. I had dual counted calories and Points Plus before, but had never used MFP. I researched options and decided MFP would work best for me. On March 6th, I got my Fitbit and started tracking on MFP.
I was very dedicated for months. In 2 months, I lost 6.8 pounds which I was happy with. During all of that I carefully counted both Points Plus and calories. Then, the wheels fell off. The first thing that happened was our Texas weather. My husband and I were walking outside in our hilly neighborhood. I was doing great and felt very motivated as I saw my steps going up. But, then, it simply got too hot for me to tolerate going outside. I didn’t have my treadmill yet and became much less active (I used my rower sporadically). And, with the lower activity I wasn’t losing any more.
So, I quit going to Weight Watchers. I did keep mostly tracking. But, for me, if I don’t weigh in I don’t do well. I weighed in at home, but that isn’t the same. I kept saying I would do better the next week. And, by July I was back in the 190s again. And, that was when the first cracks started in my MFP tracking. First, I recorded only a partial day. I was out of town and ate out a bunch and it was places hard to track. Normally, I would have tracked anyway. But, I hadn’t eaten well so I just didn’t track the full day. But, the next day I was back tracking.
But, then a couple of weeks later, I missed 2 days of tracking. And, again, during the first week of August, I missed another 3 days.
I also knew I was at my highest weight since 2010. I had to do better. On August 9th, I did two things which would make a difference. First, I went to a Weight Watchers meeting and weighed in at 196.8 pounds. Yikes! Second, I vowed to track every day. And, that is the streak that I am still on. I have not missed a single day of tracking since then. I have not intentionally failed to track anything I have eaten (I’m sure I may have forgotten something but I try to track immediately after eating so I don’t think I’ve missed much).
To me there are two routines that have been the most important for me in losing weight. The first is to track everything. I have had some days where I ate a lot of points. But, I track it all. Tracking keeps me aware of what I am doing. I might still make a bad choice, but I do it knowingly. I think it helps me to get back on track in terms of eating.
The second routine is to weigh. Before I was lifetime at goal, I really committed to weighing in weekly. You can see from my Weigh Ins page that I didn’t miss many weekly weigh ins. Personally, I need the accountability of the weigh in at a meeting. Not everyone needs that, but I do. And, then I weigh on an almost daily basis at home. This also helps accountability and keeps my head focused on managing my weight. I may miss an occasional day but I almost always weigh.
I know many people don’t like tracking. They think it is tedious or too hard or not worth it. My own husband struggled to lose his last 5 or so pounds to get to goal. He tracks in his head and is big on estimating. Finally, after being on a plateau for 6 months or so, he began tracking on the computer. He was at goal within 6 weeks. I honestly think that some sort of tracking — on computer, on a phone, on paper — will benefit most people.
Now that I have done it for so long, it is very easy. It takes me less than 10 minutes a day to track on both MFP and Weight Watchers. If I was tracking just on MFP it would easily take less than 5 minutes a day because almost all my foods are in the database and in my history so it is very fast to track. Occasionally I have to create a food, but not often. Tracking on Weight Watchers is also easy. I have to create more foods there since the new program came out and I had to put foods in again, but I am to a point now where I don’t have to create foods very often.
For what it is worth, I find it easier on MFP to track on the mobile app. With Weight Watchers, I mostly track on the browser although occasionally I use the mobile app.
If you haven’t tried tracking or you are stuck on a plateau and aren’t currently tracking, I would highly recommend some form of tracking.