I’ve quantified and monitored the calories I consume since being a teenager. I had a ‘nutritional values’ book (still have) and began by writing food diaries daily, adding up, reflecting, setting goals. I think I wanted to lose weight, although the book was a gift (c. Christmas 1999)… Maybe someone was trying to tell me something. I sometimes weighed myself, but not always. Not like now.
Back then, I had become so familiar with the values contained within and the types of foods I ate (still eat) that I could (still can) do a mental tot up in my head as I went along in a day. Rough, granted, but enough to give me a picture to work with. To know how close to 2000 I was (my daily calorie limit, not the year).
Since then, as technologies have advanced beyond printed tables, a book of leaves and ink (and then the shredder), I have upgraded to the likes of MyFitnessPal, using my smartphone to painstakingly accurately (try to) enter every morsel that passes my lips (and track over time – a lasting electronic record vs. disposing of the increasingly flammable archive). Intermittently (I’ve had it installed on my ‘phone for, what, five years?), I find it annoying and I give up. The recording bit is frustrating and dull: not the act of recording, but the process (steps and effort) it requires.
I’ve searched its database to identify perfect or best matches. I can’t use the scanner as I don’t generally eat foods with barcodes (are they UK anyway?). The portion sizes don’t readily make sense. The whole thing gets on my nerves. And, last week, I’d given up. Again. I was still weighing in, though, and entering my daily step count into the work log – so my #quantifiedself tracking was still alive and kicking (I find that if I stop e-tracking my steps and weight, I get withdrawal symptoms. Even forced hiatuses fail – see previous posts).
I was thinking about why I gave up with the food diarying (again) and perhaps revisiting the #oldskool approach. Then I wondered about combining the two. I have the approximate figures inscribed in my head and consciousness anyway. I have the MyFitnessPal app. Why not use the ‘Quick Add’ function? A ‘no brainer’?
Three days in, and I’m feeling much happier with the entering data bit (from my guestimates and actively recording – my wont). I’m counting anyway (in my head). Although a bit clunky (or maybe I just forget how to get to the bit where I can do that), I find entering a rough running total into the app much more useful than the detail. Perhaps that’s because I focus on calorie count over nutritional content… but, in any case, I’m back on track 🙂