11.09.2012

You Are What You Eat

I track my food. I don't do it because I am on some wild diet fad; I do it because I am a number cruncher. I love spreadsheets and lists and comparing how one day or week or year compares to another. I like knowing if I am eating too much sodium or not enough vegetables. I think it's fun! I have been tracking my food pretty religiously for about a year and a half (before that it was only on and off) using Lose It and it has shown me some interesting things.

First of all, I don't eat out very often, but when I do, it makes it harder to track food. You have no idea what is being put into the dishes that you are eating. There is a reason their polenta tastes different (dare I say better?) than mine. That reason is...BUTTER. The same goes for things like pre-sweetened yogurt and pre-made tomato sauce and canned beans. There is salt and sugar and goodness only knows what in there. So, what my point was going toward was that tracking has made me more aware of how much better it is to eat a REAL piece of fruit rather than a canned one, or to make my own tomato sauce rather than dumping a jar in a pan.

So, back to the statistics. On Lose It, you can make some graphs and pull up some numbers and this is where it begins to get fun. For instance, I pulled up my most logged items for the past six months. Here is what items were on the top of the list.


Hearty oats is a mix of oats, chia, flax, almond milk and raisins. I got tired of entering each one separately, so I made it into a recipe. The same goes for cabbage salad, which includes the dressing. There are a few problems. For instance, it says I ate 48 peaches. This is actually 48 peaches. However, for strawberries, it is cups not actual berries. And bananas is actually one banana, not a cup of bananas. I wish that it were more standardized.

Or yogurt, for instance...The number 67 indicates the number of times that I HAD yogurt. I may have had a cup; I may have had a 1/4 cup. You never know. However, I do like that the top items are all real foods! I have to be honest with you though, coffee was actually my number one item, since I have it almost every day!

The other thing I found interesting was the breakdown of where my calories are coming from. Although now that I compare it with the above list, I am not really surprised.


Apparently I snack a lot. I do put fruit in the "snack" category a lot of the time, so you can see why snacking wins over meals pretty easily! Besides fruit, I often snack on yogurt (with fruit), nuts and Craisins (so the list on top is consistent with the graph below!). My carbs are also high, which is mostly due to the fruit, and the sugar that comes from my new favorite snack, the dried young coconut.

FYI: The American Heart Association recommends: less than 1500 mg sodium per day / 30 minutes of moderate exercise 5 times a week / 4-5 cups of fruit and veggies per day / 200-300 mg cholesterol per day (or less). 

So, if the title of my post is correct, I guess I am a big blob of oatmeal. With little chicken legs.

Are you running the CIM? For tips, check out my guest post over at Terzah's!! And don't forget to stop by Jills for more Fitness (and food) related posts!

Do you track your food? Do you know how much sodium you are getting each day? What do you think your most eaten foods would be if you had a top 10 list?

15 comments:

  1. I just read your guest post! Great tips, maybe someday I will get to run CIM. I don't track my food, but I would probably be a steak with salad arms and oatmeal legs with a yogurt head. :)

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  2. I like knowing this stuff, too. I don't track daily, but I do track a day or two about once a month to see how far off track I've gone. I completely agree with you about knowing what's in your food!
    Loved your guest post too, btw. :)

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  3. I don't track my food but have in the past and occasionally do it for short periods of times when I feel really 'off'. I snack a lot, in fact, more so than actual meals which often means they are not too balanced!

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  4. I KNOW I should track food, but I hate tracking anything. No training tracking, no food tracking, etc. I am not a numbers girl! Will you come do it for me?

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  5. Shame on me for not keeping up with tracking my food on Lose It. I really do like it. I'm planning to pick it back up soon because I know I tend to eat better if I'm tracking what I'm eating.

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  6. Tracking solely for data generation purposes shows your true nerd colors. I do it too anytime I'm revamping the diet or need to study my nutrition a bit. I put fruit in the meal category these days though.

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  7. I track my food too. I used Lose It for a while and now I use My Fitness Pal. When I was using it a few years ago, it didn't have nearly as many reporting tools. I love that. On My Fitness Pal, there is a pie chart of macro nutrients on a daily and a weekly basis and I love looking at that to make sure I'm balanced.

    Love your nerdiness!

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  8. I use FitDay and purchased it years ago to have on my own PC. So every day I track on a WW paper tracker, then enter into my software. Obsessed? Maybe, but I like to know the numbers too.

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  9. I have to be so careful about sodium. Salty snacks to me are what sweets are to others. I know at the very top of my list would be oats, spinach and nut butters.

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  10. I'm trying to get back into the habit of tracking. I do like looking at the charts that Sparkpeople generates at the end of the day, so I can empathize with your desire to crunch numbers.

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  11. I feel like food is one of the last pieces of my training equation (and the one I most ignore). You actually make it sound sort of fun.....If I fail to achieve my goal at CIM, I may add this to my next training cycle.

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  12. I eat so much better when I track my food. I need to get back into the habit. I have the Lose It app and love it.

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  13. I do not track my food intake. I used to when I was on Weight Watchers years ago and I was very diligent about it. I did track for awhile last summer to get a handle on the amount of carbs/protein I was eating. I could probably benefit from tracking again. I do not know how much sodium I get, but I think it's probably not enough as I crave pickles like crazy!

    As far as most eaten foods, right now I'd say popcorn, lettuce salads, and baked potatoes.

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  14. THis is really interesting. I don't track what I eat, but in my mind, I'm often crunching the numbers or the amount of protein/fruit/veg/etc. I've had that day. I used to be a bit more conscious of the calorie count, but I'm purposely being less careful as I don't want to eat too little. I exercise plenty so there's no need to not enjoy the mostly healthy foods I enjoy.

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  15. I used to track food (when trying to lose weight), but I find it easy to get a little obsessive over. I think oats would probably top my food list too. I eat it every single morning without fail - and occasionally as a snack or dessert just because I like it that much.

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Thanks for commenting! Any suggestions, tips or praise you have is always welcome!