I tracked what I ate for 86 days. Here's what I learned.
I had two motivations: first, I wanted a better diet to sustain my activity level (and me over time) without feeling so tired; and second, I did a BMI test and the readout told me I could stand to lose some pounds (ugh). I've never tracked my eating before. Here were my big lessons:
#1. My diet was backwards – I needed higher protein and fiber and lower carbs, but I was the opposite. As someone who is pescatarian, finding protein sources is a little more challenging. I have fish nearly every day – I’ll put an envelope of tuna on my salad for lunch. I’m also using beans and lentils, mung dahl, chickpeas, Greek yogurt as a staple. I've also found a protein bar I like or I'll make a shake. #2. Carbs are everywhere – I swore, all I had to do was wake up and I was logging 50g. But seriously, I was relying on them way too much as an energy source. I cut back on rice; swapped out some fruits with more veggies. I try to skip the bread, whether it’s the bun of a sandwich, the flour tortilla, or the bread basket at the restaurant, and choose wholegrain crackers. (for "good carb" ideas, see my winter newsletter) #3. Keep up with your water and find fiber – With my need to amp up the protein, I quickly learned the value of drinking water. Now that it’s colder, I also love hot tea. The fiber too – so important to keep things moving inside. I like my oatmeal, apples, beans, and popcorn is a favorite (I make mine on the stove). #4. Advance prep is crucial – It’s so important by Sunday night I have meals prepped or at least the essential ingredients for my week. It’s too tough, when I’m leaving at 5:15am to go teach to think about what I’ll be eating that day. When I plan in advance, and prep my food I can just grab things on my way out the door. #5. You don’t know what you don’t know – Until I started logging my meals (I use MyFitnessPal), I thought I was eating well. I made good choices, but not nearly enough for what I need. So I’m grateful I made the commitment to track. I definitely feel better, have more energy and brain power, and I’m not falling asleep at my desk at 2pm each day. Some have said I look a little better too :-) Still, there's work to be done. I’m still not to the level of protein I should be, but instead of logging an average of 50g-60g, I’m around 90g, and have been over 100g several times now. I wasn't crazy strict with how I logged my meals when I ate out, but I am much more conscious about my choices. I also never logged the wine. (I know, it’s high in carbs too), but i wanted to be realistic and not over-stress. If I can make the gains I have (and lose some pounds along the way), it's a win!
This article was posted in my winter newsletter. To reach more click here!