Did you see the New York Times interactive article, "Diary of a Food Tracker," which was published last Monday? It is a fascinating account of one person's weight loss story using the Lose It app to track food intake and exercise. It is well known through multiple published studies that self-monitoring is the most effective way to lose weight, but what is very rarely depicted is just how difficult self-monitoring can be for the long haul.
The interactive article highlights the ups and downs of Mr. Lochner's very successful weight loss journey (he lost over 100 pounds) and accurately illustrates just how difficult it can be to maintain your efforts despite seen success. I applaud the NY Times as well as Mr. Lochner for this piece. Eating healthy and losing weight are difficult jobs and it's nice to see a portrayal like this one rather than a glamorous weight loss story that features a slender woman and a trendy diet.
In Mr. Lochner's situation, you can see his struggle of staying on track with his goals during the holidays and the negative effect that taking even a week off from tracking his food and exercise had on his weight. I also love the way his personal tracking helped him to see the impact that exercise had on his weight, particularly when he struggles to lose the pounds he gain as a result of job changes or taking a vacation.
My personal favorite food tracking app is MyFitnessPal. It has the largest data base of foods making it easier to use accurately. From working with patients and reviewing many food records during my work as a dietitian, I can say that ease of use is the number one key is sticking to the plan.
Images from Pop Sugar.