calories

You Count More Than Your Calories Do

Our Whole30® forum moderators are truly amazing folks. They volunteer their time and employ their deep Whole30 knowledge and experience to answer questions, lend support, and generally make the Forum a great place to come and chat with like-minded people who want to improve their health and well-being.

Dependence on the Food-Log

Hanging out on the forum day-in and day-out allows our moderators to recognize trends and patterns in participants’ behavior, and recently, one particular trend caught our attention – participants stuck (dependent, almost) on tracking and logging their food intake, and reliant on the computerized “analysis” to tell them how successful their efforts have been. Here are a few examples of posts from our forum:

“I’m new to the Whole30. I love the food and I feel great, but I’m really afraid that I’m consuming too many calories and too much fat. I know Dallas and Melissa say not to worry about these things, but I’ve been tracking my food for the past 4 years so I logged everything I ate today in Myfitnesspal. This is way more calories and fat than I’m used to. I’m freaking out! Help!”

“I know I don’t need to count calories, but should I track what I’m eating so I can get a better handle on what works well for my body? Or just follow the plan and leave that part out to keep it simple?”

“How can I be sure I will lose weight during this process? Should I limit my fruit and nut intake to one serving a day? Should I track my foods? My CrossFit box had me tracking on a 30 day Paleo challenge I did last year.”

“I’m wondering if anyone else monitors their caloric intake while they are doing the Whole30? I’m trying to figure out what is happening here… I have been tracking what I eat on My Fitness Pal… I have not eaten much more than half of my (allotted) 1,400 calories.”

And for your reading enjoyment, here are our initial thoughts on this trend, as best expressed by our resident tough-love master, forum moderator, and Whole9 Envoy Tom Denham:

“[Begin rant] I wish that those calorie tracking websites and apps would blow up. What nasty, insidious brainwashing tools! I am going to recommend that the next version of the Whole30 explicitly says, ‘Do not track your food with Myftinesspal, Fitday, MyPlate etc.’. The information you get from such counting programs encourages you to ignore your body and conform to false standards. Now stop using Myfitnesspal and stop counting calories. It makes you nuts, stresses you out, and does nothing to improve your health. [End rant]”

Did we mention we love Tom?

Of course, there’s more to this story than Tom’s rant. We understand why so many coming from Weight Watchers or some other form of “traditional” dieting would think tracking, weighing, measuring, and analyzing is a necessary part of losing weight and getting healthy.

But we’re here to say hell no, it ain’t.

Journaling vs. Getting Stuck in the Numbers

In the past, you’ve probably heard us say that it’s a good idea to keep a journal during your Whole30. But just to make things crystal clear…your Whole30 journal should be for pretty much anything but calorie and macronutrient measuring and tracking. Log your favorite recipes, evaluate your place in the Whole30 Timeline, solidify your goals and achievements, analyze what’s going well, what could be better, and what you’re going to do tomorrow. But skip the weighing, measuring, and your focus on the “should.” Why, you ask?

Because the Whole30 is about you creating a new relationship with food.

Because counting calories tells you absolutely nothing about how your body feels when you fill it with vibrant, nutrient-dense, satiating meat, vegetables, fruits, and good fats.

Because, like stepping on the scale, tracking calories and fat is ultimately keeping you from listening to your own internal cues that help you intuitively know which foods are making you more healthy, and which are making you less healthy.

Because you’ve been dieting your whole life, under-eating on purpose, and have a completely skewed view of exactly what you need to thrive.

Because mainstream media and society have been filling your head with lies for your entire life, telling you “success” comes from obsessive attention to calories, and restricting just a little bit more every year, every day, every meal.

Because tracking every single bite of food you eat is profoundly destructive to your self-image, your relationship with food, and your mental health.

Getting the picture?

Is This Making Me Healthier?

If you need a little more convincing, don’t just take our word for it. Blogger Monica from Monica’s Nest put it perfectly when she said:

I always focused on calorie counting for my weight loss/health goals, using things like Myfitnesspal to count calories/points. Did I have success? Marginally. I would lose some weight, but I didn’t keep it off. I was focusing less on eating whole foods and more on fitting into my calorie or points goal for the day. I found that calorie counting isn’t sustainable for me. I would always be hungry and would end up asking the question ‘Can I fit this into my calorie/point allowance’ instead of ‘Is this going to make me healthier?’ or ‘How will this make me feel?’

Enter the Whole30. I’ve learned how to regulate what I’m eating WITHOUT calorie counting – and it’s taken so much stress out of my day. It’s incredibly liberating to go from feeling hopeless to realizing that you found a way of eating that keeps you full and comfortable without calorie counting that makes the weight fall off like it was never there.

So can we all just agree to step away from the food-logging apps, please?

Of course, you may be feeling a little lost without your daily calories, points, or macros. So here are our best expert recommendations for stepping away from the food log, and investing yourself in the Whole30 process.

From Melissa: “Journaling your food, cravings, moods, and noticeable changes is a wonderful process, from an accountability, motivational, and awareness perspective. But I really, really, strongly dislike services like MyFitnessPal.com or PaleoTrack.com that count, measure, and spit out ‘analysis’ about your overall diet and success.

The point of the Whole30 is to change your relationship with food, heal the gut, reduce systemic inflammation, restore a healthy metabolism. Sites like these keep you focused on numbers that, truthfully, don’t mean a darn thing in terms of any of those health metrics. You don’t need to worry about calories, 6:3 ratio, fiber grams, or any such nonsense during your program, and you certainly don’t need a computerized system passing judgment about whether you’re ‘strict paleo’ or not!

During your Whole30, focus on Good Food, the mealtime experience, your body’s signals, your emotional relationship with food, and the changes you are seeing on a day-to-day basis. If you choose to track your food after your Whole30, that’s entirely up to you… but there’s a reason that tracking/logging/weighing/measuring made our top five list of most common errors for first-time Whole30′ers.”

From Renee Lee: “While I appreciate needing to make sure that you aren’t under-eating, continuing to track intake is going to be a roadblock into your healthy food relationship quest. I’m not saying you can’t get there while tracking, it’s just going to be harder. It Starts With Food includes a meal planning template/guidelines for a reason; to free yourself from logging and tracking while ensuring that you’re eating enough. I encourage you to follow that instead.”

From Johnny Malangone: “I call weighing and measuring and tracking the ‘dark place’ of health and nutrition. I’ve gone through periods of what basically amount to eating disorders, where I was hyper-focused on tracking to a point of it totally disrupting my life and enjoyment of food… which is stress I don’t need!”

So follow our meal planning template. Choose Good Foods from our Whole30 shopping list. And then… relax, and pay attention to the signals your body is sending you. After a few weeks of eating Good Food, you’ll be able to use energy levels, hunger, cravings, mood, and athletic performance to help you figure out whether you’re eating enough, or need to eat more. Remember, your body knows far more about how much you need to eat than any calculator you find on the internet.

Embrace the full Whole30 experience. Know that you have taken the first step towards changing the way you eat for the rest of your life. And, hopefully, eventually, you will come to believe (as we do) that counting, tracking, weighing, or measuring has no place in a healthy, nourishing, sustainable relationship with food.

We can help you live the Whole9 life.

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Comments

  1. Sophie says

    Would be interested to know what you think of using FitDay for acting as a reference point for carb consumption following a successful Whole30? Following Mark Sisson’s Primal approach for maintaining weight at around 100-150g carbs per day, would you recommend using these tools as a reference point to what you should be eating to maintain a healthy weight? He seems to be a fan of the idea.

    I’m aware Whole9 is more about the holistic approach to health, and weight shouldn’t really come in it, but just wanted to get your thoughts :)

  2. pbo says

    Definitely agree with this. I have measured and counted calories for so long that I have lost the ability to property gauge my hunger. I would have to rely on my log, and see that I had X amount of calories left.

    One of the reasons I am going to do a Whole 30 is to fix my relationship with food, so this is definitely a main component of it.

    One question I have for you guys is the whole 15 minute post workout meal. I keep getting advice to cram this meal, some say eat it in your car, or at your gym. To me, this is not healthy relationship with food. I am working on slowing down my eating and not rushing. Any suggestions for this?

  3. says

    There are also some really interesting (and just plain wrong) versions of Whole30 that are being promoted and done on the tracking sites, MFP in particular. Tom’s recommendation that future guides explicitly state to stay away from tracking sites is dead on.

    I use MFP socially because there is a solid paleo community there and it gives me the support I lack personally with this diet, It’s frustrating, though, to watch other users claim to be on a Whole30 while eating only 700 or 800 calories a day (predominantly protein, no vegetables), tracking their weight daily or freaking out because they’ve gone over their fat allowances for the day. The biggest victory for me through my own Whole30′s has been learning to listen to and fine tune what my body is telling me about food – you can’t do that is you’re measuring and counting every single bite of food you take in.

    The heavy focus on numbers and weight-loss on the tracking sites negates so much of the best stuff the Whole30 has to offer.In some ways, I worry that they’re doing damage to (or at least diluting) the program and giving those who haven’t tried or researched it an improper view of what it really is. I’m so glad to see you guys addressing this!

  4. Peter Haas says

    I love MyFitnessPal, DailyBurn, etc. It’s a great tool for grownups.

    “Because the Whole30 is about you creating a new relationship with food.

    Because counting calories tells you absolutely nothing about how your body feels when you fill it with vibrant, nutrient-dense, satiating meat, vegetables, fruits, and good fats.”

    I agree with that. Most people’s relationship with food is broken. They eat products instead of real food.

    That being said, your ass isn’t getting to 10% BF if you are intaking more calories then you burn, no matter how low-carb or Paleo-compliant it is. Calories still matter in the end. One of the great tricks w/ getting people to go Paleo is it drops their calorie intake and/or increase their metabolic rate WITHOUT specifically telling them to decrease their intake.

    So IF you are a grown-ass man or woman that is capable of feeding himself/herself real food, IF you have aggressive body composition goals, and IF you are capable of doing realistic goal setting and planning, then using a calorie counter is the right tool for you. Because 250 cals will make or break your fat loss.

    If you are using calorie counters to enable your eating disorder, then calorie counters are a bad idea for you.

  5. says

    @Sophie, I know Sisson has his “carb curve” as a general guideline for intake and weight loss, but I’m betting that even he would say weighing, tracking, and measuring your intake isn’t a healthy, sustainable practice.

    For those just transitioning into this way of eating, MAYBE a tool like FitDay is helpful, just so you have some idea of how much you’re eating and where those calories and nutrients are coming from. For example, it can be shocking to put in the few handfuls of nuts you ate and discover how many grams of fat they contain – or to plug in three handfuls of berries and see how little carbohydrate that actually contributes to your overall diet. But that’s a one-time tool to gain some knowledge and awareness – not a long-term strategy to keep you on track.

    Tracking and logging like that can easily blind you to your body’s signals. Say you’re eating 100g of carbs a day, because that’s your “weight loss zone.” But your activity levels increase, and you start feeling run down, energy-deficient, tired. You’re a lot less likely to listen to your body and up your carbs if you’re super-stuck on the idea that you can’t go over your “allotted” 100g.

    So we would not recommend using these tool as a reference point long term. They may be a fine concept to get you started, but after you’ve been eating Good Food for a while (generally 30 days is all it takes!) you can actually start trusting the signals your body is sending you – and your body knows how much you should be eating way better than even someone as smart as The Sisson.

    Best,
    Melissa

  6. says

    @Peter Haas,

    Our perspective has nothing to do with body composition goals or fat/weight loss. We are health-focused around here, as you know. Using these tools (or any tools, for that matter) as a way to artificially (and generally un-healthfully) manipulate your body comp isn’t anything we would ever promote, endorse, or condone. It’s just not our style.

    If that’s your goal and your approach, there is, of course, nothing wrong with that. It’s the “health vs. performance” (or in this case, “health vs. body comp”) discussion we have at every seminar. There is nothing wrong with that perspective – it’s just not ours, nor is it most of our readers.

    The part of your comment I don’t appreciate is the idea that if you find tracking/logging damaging or hurtful to your relationship with food, you aren’t a “grown-up.” One has nothing to do with the other. Tracking or logging your food doesn’t make you more mature, or more bad-ass. And discovering through self-awareness and introspection that your tracking/logging habit has become unsustainable or unhealthy doesn’t make you weak.

    Melissa

  7. Tommyboy says

    @Mellssa_whole9

    I believe that you misunderstood what Peter was saying (correct me if I’m wrong Peter) in regards to the grown-up analogy. What I took from it was tools like this are OK (in his opinion) when used with a “grown-up” mentality. Basically being able to understand the tool for what it is and not to be taken in with negative side effects, let it fuel eating disorders, etc and he is including both sites like MyFitnessPal and Whole30.

    I personally agree with him. At some points the discussions here sound almost like a my god is better than your god discussion. In the end if either plan, counting calories, changing your relationship with food/ healthier eating can help to change your health in a positive way, both are great options. I also agree with the overall sentiment that no matter what type, or quality of food you choose, caloric intake/burn is backed by vast bodies of scientific research. To discount this completely just doesn’t make sense.

    JM2C

  8. betterdays says

    Doesn’t it really depend on what your primary goal is? Seems to me many, many people come to Whole30/Paleo because they want to lose weight, change body composition, AND get healthier. I am achieving the first two by tracking my calories and operating at an appropriate deficit, but I am following a paleo/primal/Whole9 eating plan because I want to put better food into my body, support local farmers, improve overall wellness, etc. I agree that tracking can add counter-productive stress to people who have food issues or unhealthy relationships with food. But if you don’t have those issues and your goal is better body composition through healthier eating, tracking and calorie counting in some form seems a very appropriate tool in your toolbox.

  9. says

    I’m very pleased to see this post. Food blogs are the wrong focus. We have to listen to our bodies, first and foremost.
    And those contraptions that measure the calories burned are equally ridiculous.
    Aside from dialling in the best foods, I consider there are two very powerful positives in the Whole30 plan – NOT weighing yourself (or your food for that matter!) and NOT snacking.
    These are life-changing new habits.
    Love your work you two and looking forward to attending a seminar with Jamie and Anastasia sometime this year.

  10. says

    @PBO: The post-workout meal “window” is generally best eaten 15-30 minutes after your high-intensity training session. But you have to think about your context, and your goal. If your primary goal is maximizing performance, then maybe you put that ahead of your relationship with food, and jam on your meal while gathering up your belongings after a workout. If it’s more important to you to change that relationship and develop better mealtime habits, then don’t worry about what’s “optimal” post-workout, and let your goals be your guide. To be honest, while a PWO meal is important for those chasing performance, for most of us who just exercise to be healthier, it doesn’t really matter whether we eat 15 minutes or 45 minutes after a session. Do we lose some benefits of that “post-workout window?” Yep. But do we CARE? That depends entirely on what you’ve set as your primary goal. Based on how you’ve worded your question, I think you probably already know the answer.

    @Samantha: I’ve seen that too, and it makes me crazy – but what can we do? We put the intentions, the guidelines, and a million articles encouraging one kind of approach over another, but people will still do the Whole30 for their own reasons, and will continue to find ways to do a highly unhealthy Whole30. If you can block out the things about those communities that don’t make sense to you (like the focus on dramatic caloric restriction, comparisons from member to member, or arbitrary judgments about your “success” or not), and take from them what you need, more power to you. But I don’t know a lot of people secure enough in their relationship with food and themselves, and self-aware enough, to be able to do that long-term.

    @TommyBoy: I perhaps did misunderstand the tone of Peter’s comment – tone is hard to judge online, so if I missed his point, I’ll totally apologize (and edit my comment). We really aren’t going after a “my god is better than your god” with this one – that’s not our style. People come here to hear our best advice, recommendations, and opinions on health-related topics, because we have a ton of real-world experience with the situations we write about. I’m not saying we’re spot-on for all people at all times, and we always temper our recommendations with the concept of “context matters.” But we do feel a responsibility to our readers to share our best practices, and in this case, we’ve seen far more people hurt by this behavior than helped. (So it’s just our opinion, but it’s a pretty experienced opinion.) But to your point, we always encourage people to take what they like, and leave the rest behind. If this particular article doesn’t apply to you or your context – cool! Just keep on doing what works for you – we think that’s great – and maybe our next write-up will be more applicable in your life.

    @BetterDays: Of course, your goal does matter. As a few have pointed out, if you’re a bodybuilder, wrestler, or BJJ guy (for whom weight and body fat percentage are critical), you may need to track/log to keep you on point for your sport. But we don’t think this applies at all to general weight loss, or those who want to change how their bodies look. You do not need to track calories to lose weight, and in a lot of cases, it hurts your weight loss efforts more than it helps. As I mentioned above (and in a Facebook comment), I do see a place for tracking and analyzing when you change your healthy eating plan, if only to gain some awareness. You may think eating three servings of fruit is way too many carbs, but when you plug it into your FitDay and see it’s really just a tiny part of your overall calories, you can relax and enjoy your servings. But you only have to do that a few times to gain the awareness we are talking about – and continuing that behavior has, in our opinion, far more drawbacks than benefits for those with a health focus.

    @Prue: Nice to hear from you – thanks for sharing your perspective from Australia!

    Best,
    Melissa

  11. ladyhoward says

    I love this post and want to tattoo it all over my husband’s phone so he can’t get on myfitnesspal anymore. I think the “ratios” they recommend are wrong and unhealthy, but he insists it’s helping him. Never mind the fact that last night he said “I think I’ll get a snack – I’m still way under my calories for today.” I asked him if he was even hungry, and said that he should listen to his body and not pay attention to what some stupid app says – but he assured me he really WAS hungry anyway (yeah, whatever!). I’ll keep working on him and maybe find a way to “accidently” delete the app :)

  12. Katelyn says

    I did Weight Watchers for a little while and definitely found myself asking the question “Do I want to waste points on this?” far too often. After switching to Paleo, I liked that I didn’t have to count or track. About a month ago, on a whim, I plugged in my day’s food intake and was so upset by the calorie amount I saw: ~700 calories. The thing that scared me was that I felt like I was unintentionally starving myself and hindering my progress. I was eating all “good” things.. tuna, cauliflower, chicken, etc. And I wasn’t feeling hungry. Now, I try to be more mindful of my caloric intake so I am getting ENOUGH. I’m also curious as to where my macros lie because I want to build muscle and I also aim to be fat-adapted. I find it hard to eat more than 1,700 calories a day so sometimes I might just eat a tablespoon or two of almond butter. Do you think I am hindering my progress if I’m not eating 2,000 calories a day?

  13. says

    I think that there is definite truth to becoming dysfunctional with food tracking as much as one can be dysfunctional with food. We all know that we could enter in 40 Oreos into the fit-pal-day thing and be under our daily calorie limits. Also, I’ve noticed their Macro suggestions are more in line with FDA recommendations, not super helpful for those who are trying I break out of their fear of dietary fat.

    That being said, in my experience I’ve used the log as a tool and general guideline for how much I am eating in any given day. My relationship with food had its ups and downs and knowing that I am logging my food and can actually see the amounts is great indenture for me to not mindlessly eat (as was my habit, and an unfortunate side affect of being a chef… And a paleo chef at that).

    If I were to just “listen to my body” I would eat a lot more than I need. Just out of habit, skewed perceptions of portion sizes, and sheer complulsion. Let me be clear. I’ve maintained a paleo diet for almost four years now. As much as people like to say that it’s nearly impossible to over eat on a paleo diet, I can promise that it is in fact possible. I can eat a giant bowl of roasted brussel sprouts, spoons of almond butter, or 5 chicken thighs with out thinking much about it. So we’re not talking about “cheats” or SAD-fare.

    I use the blog every once in a while ( maybe do a month at a time) just to bring some mindfulness to what I’m putting in my mouth. I don’t pay attention to the macro breakdown and I don’t go crazy typing in every amount of cooking oil and lettuce leaves. I know that I can get a general idea without being a nazi about the little things

  14. says

    I am with Peter and Tommyboy. I am all for health, had been for it all my life (most of it anyway), and have a great relationship with food in general (after all, I came from the country and the era where pre-packaged foods, sodas and other stuff did not exist, we cooked and for the 209 years here cook from scratch daily). And, to top it off, for the last dozen years I had been a pretty solid runner – and ultrarunner, with good results too. But, however, it never meant I could eat however much I want/my body tells me to and stay in a range of a weight that is good for me (it’s great for anyone out there walking the streets, yes, but not for my personal goals). So, that said, I do keep foodlog – to watch the total caloric intake, and to make sure the split-up is where I’d like it to be and get enough protein to supplement the muscle repair. It is not your goal to work on body composition, nor your intention to be seen as “God” or cult, and I will be the one who promotes Whole30 as a kick-start and Paleo as a life-style, but boy, do you come as that sometimes…

  15. Julia Clare says

    I LOVE not thinking about food all day. I love that my body can run weight loss on it’s own eating Paleo (pretty much, a bit of help from the brain!) . I hate goals and graphs and food logs after years of that approach NOT working so bad I gained more weight. I haven’t yet thrown out the scale as my partner wouldn’t agree. But I’d be happy using my clothes as a measure.

    I have more to learn about listening to my body, I’ve been playing with eating NO snacks, just 3 good meals a day. I can’t intermittent fast beyond this strategy, but that’s good enough for me. (I can miss a meal, and it seems do-able at the time, but I pay for it later with desperate-eating behaviour. I guess my metabolism isn’t ready for that!)

  16. Liz says

    Hadn’t realized I could comment w/out using Facebook. Would rather do this, so deleted my facebook comment.

    Just quickly replying to recommend http://www.paleotrail.com — you just put in the name of the food/meal, describe it however you want, and then assign a rating (“supreme, pretty good, not good, and cheating”). I know you have issues with “cheating,” but if you think of it as saying “off-roading” instead, it’s actually a great program.

    Non-disclaimer disclaimer — I have no connection other than that of a satisfied user.

  17. Boyd says

    I track but only with pictures. Huh? I use an app, sinner I know, called Photo Diet. It doesn’t do much other then keep a nice photo journal of food I eat. I don’t use it all the time but it comes in really handy during the 30 days or during any time I am trying to make a change. I can quickly see what I ate for review, motivation or analyzing however I see fit. Plus, and this is important, it is super fast to record with no typing required.

  18. Katie says

    This doesn’t necessarily correlate to this blog post, but I can’t find an address to just email you guys, probably my own operator error. Anyway I saw a headline on NYTimes.com “The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food” and thought you guys might be interested in reading/sharing. It was in the NYTimes Magazine last weekend.

  19. says

    @LadyHoward: We see this often with these kinds of tracking and apps… people override the signals their bodies are sending them and eat because they “are allowed” more calories, or (more frequently) don’t eat (despite hunger, poor energy levels, or poor gym performance) because some calculator on the internet told them they can’t. These are the dangers we warn folks about!

    @Katelyn: That is one example of a good use of these apps – but again, you’re talking about a very short-term use to increase your awareness, not a dependence on tracking/logging to keep you on track long-term. I’ve also been surprised in the past with how much I thought I was eating, versus how many calories I was actually consuming. Obviously, 700 is way too low for health, but I can’t tell you whether 1,700 is too low or just right for you without knowing a heck of a lot more about your life and your context. What if you gave up tracking for two weeks, and just let your hunger levels, energy levels, gym performance, mood, and to a small degree, body composition, help you dictate how much you should be eating? If you feel that you’re in too much danger of heading back into 700 calorie territory, maybe this isn’t a good idea, but if you’re comfortable with how much you’ve been eating to arrive at a more reasonable 1,700, this may be a good experiment for you.

    @Nikki: It sounds like you and your tracking have arrived at a healthy, sustainable (at least for now) place. If that’s the case, given your exceptional awareness, then of course you should just keep doing what you’re doing. If at any point, you find that the tracking and logging is detracting from your relationship with food, or preventing you from tuning into your satiety signals in a more meaningful and natural way, then perhaps it might be time to re-evaluate.

    @Olga: You have a different goal than 90% of our readers – it’s the difference between health vs. performance. You are doing things for your performance (tracking, logging, and adjusting your diet) that those with a health-focus may find, well, unhealthy. (And to be honest, athletes with a serious performance focus do end up, eventually, doing things that make them less healthy in an effort to improve performance. It’s the trade-off of every serious athlete.) We write with a health bias – always have, and unless we note otherwise for a particular article, we always will. So this particular article just may not apply to you – in which case, take what you like, and leave this one behind. It’s impossible to reach all of our readers with everything we write!

    @Julia: We’re always happy to hear from readers who are happy with their no-scale-no-tracking-no-logging lifestyle. Glad you found something that works for you!

    @Liz: Interesting compromise. I’m not sure how I feel about it, though – I’d have to do some more research. Thanks for pointing it out, as I’m sure our readers will be asking questions about it.

    @Boyd: I actually love that idea. It’s not tracking or logging, and there’s no judgment passed by the app as to whether you’re over-eating, under-eating, or “perfect Paleo.” You’re just keeping an online journal of your meals, which I dig, because who hasn’t gone through the “what do I want for dinner?” dance? This is a nice way to see what you’ve been eating, increase variety if you choose, and look back on old favorite meals when you need inspiration. I dig it – as long as the process of documenting all your meals in this fashion doesn’t become burdensome.

    Best
    Melissa

  20. Katelyn says

    Melissa- thanks for getting back to me. I really hate logging my food. I think it’s boring and I don’t like feeling “good” or “bad” about myself based on my caloric intake. In the past few days, I’ve simply just upped my protein intake (with meat & eggs) and I logged my intake yesterday and I was spot on where I want to be.. ~1,700-1,800. Protein (and the fat in it) keeps me fuller longer so I will just stick with that for now!

  21. says

    The thing I never got my head around is that if you are eating “real food” then the number of calories and proportion of macronutrients is going to differ every single time. A pound of wild rabbit in summer is not going to have the same profile as a pound of wild rabbit in January. How does a battery-produced egg compare with an egg of a different breed? A free range egg of a different breed?

    Heck, even a carrot grown in different soil will have a different composition.

    If the numbers are consistent then you’re not eating food, you’re eating someone’s “product”.

  22. says

    I have a family member who has always been disordered in her eating, IMO, and technology has just allowed her a different way to obsess over it. It is SO wearying to go out to eat with her or “enjoy” (not) a meal with her as she counts, logs, figures, and ponders. Having been there, I’m just sad for her, but at the same time, I know she LOVES it — she feels totally in control while not realizing that the food and her app are actually controlling her. We vacationed together this summer shortly after I finished a Whole 30. She was appalled at my olive snack (too high in some micronutrient, I suppose), that I would “spend” so many of my calories on eggs for breakfast, etc. If nothing else, I have LOVED the Whole 30 and the FREEDOM from the shackles of those things.

    • says

      Sarah, it’s really hard to break away from the comfort of logging and tracking your numbers, especially if your thinking around food and your body isn’t always healthy. The best thing you can do is model good behavior, and hope that she either picks up what you’re throwing down, or asks for some help if and when she realizes there may be a problem. Melissa

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