The funny thing is that this is 100% true. No matter how you track what you eat in calories, points or portions your body doesn’t care. It doesn’t reset at midnight. It doesn’t give you extra points for being active. It just sees what is going in (food) must be balanced by what is being taken out( activity).
To be honest–I think about food, a LOT. I plan what I am eating frequently. It might just be what I am having for dinner so I can defrost something or I may plan out a whole day. It really just depends on what is going on and if other people are involved.
In an effort to become “right-sized” I have tried a few tracking options such as Smartpeople.com for calories and percentages. I’ve done the “21 day fix” by Beachbody tracking portions as well as several versions of WeightWatchers. What I’ve come to realize is this: the mindset and determination you bring to the table is what determines your success. Whether you track portions, points or calories it only works if you make this how you think and don’t see it as a restriction but more of a lifestyle choice.
Although I am currently enrolled in a WW program I disagree with a few principles and will be discontinuing it as soon as my 3 months are up. Points are determined by the amount of sugar, fat and calories in the latest Smart Points plan. However, they don’t distinguish between natural sugar and processed. Example: A brown sugar cinnamon poptart is 9 points while a Lara bar (which is essentially dates and other good ingredients) is 8-9. How is this possible. Also, while I understand the push to get more people to eat fruit and vegetables they are not calorie free in a “0” points category. An apple is still about 100 calories to your body and still needs to be accounted for.
So what am I doing these days?
80/20 Mindful eating. Essentially I am choosing the healthiest options that I can 80-90% of the time. If I balance my eating to where I am choosing wisely most of the time an occasional indulgence will balance out. I found that when you put a food off limits it is what you crave. By choosing to make it available I find that I often forget about the chocolate in the pantry. It also eliminates feeling guilty because I did choose to have something in the 20% category. You have it, enjoy it and move on.
Practical inefficiency. I also focus on moving more and sneaking in ‘steps’ and stairs when I can. Mentally it is a game to see how much more I can do without exercise and just being an active person. Being active not only means a planned exercise like walking but not sitting when you can do something else.
Lastly, the scale. Yes I do get on the scale just to keep an idea of my weight but since it fluctuates so much because of water and salt and sugar intake it really isn’t an accurate measure of our health. I had a recent conversation with someone and they keep track by trying on an item of clothes that fit when they were healthiest. If it fits they keep on the same path. If it doesn’t then they pay more attention to eating choices and bump up their activity. This totally makes sense to be. Muscle takes up less space so your clothes would fit differently.
So– how do you balance intake and output? What works for you?