Data collection is pointless unless the data is analyzed and conclusions drawn.
That’s my opinion, anyway.
I track everything I eat and all exercise I perform, and I aggregate the overall numbers to determine the basic truth that, yes, I really should just follow the Weight Watchers plan as specified if I want to lose an average of about a pound a week.
That’s not telling me anything I don’t already know. That’s not helping me rethink and change my behaviors.
It’s time to drill in from the aggregate, high-level view and get into the daily details. Ask the hard questions.
Why did I eat that?
The above graph is the first WDIET (what an appropriate acronym!*) analysis I did, and is the first I’ll publish.
For each unusually high-Points (or “Pointy,” as I like to call it) meal, I went back into my tracker and identified what I ate and why, and whether it was worth the Points, in retrospect.
My boss’s homemade pound cake.
I knew she was bringing it to our meeting, and planned a light lunch accordingly. It was delicious, even though her “real” whipped cream had lost its fluff en route to work. I’d call that a solid maybe.
The macadamia nut cookie I bought from the nice lady by the food trucks.
Impulse buy as I was walking the gauntlet of food trucks and stands with the sandwich I bought. I had more cash left than I’d expected, so I spent some of it on that cookie. It was amazing, and totally worth the Points, although I would have been satisfied with half the cookie.
Grape leaves from the Lebanese place across the street.
Went over with co-workers after our lunchtime yoga class. They got takeout, and I impulse-bought a dozen vegetarian stuffed grape leaves to accompany my packed lunch. That was too many grape leaves — the half-dozen would have sufficed. That said… they were totally worth the Points.
This is a problem for me. I put Connor to bed, and think that the fatigue I feel is hunger, so I feed it with carbs. It’s also comfort food, because I’ve just dealt with 60-90 minutes of convincing an irrational little human to bathe, brush his teeth, and go to bed, and my lizard brain thinks the carbs will fix my mood. Not worth it. Not one bit.
Co-worker’s leftover graduation party cake.
Didn’t know it would be there, but there it was, announced via e-mail to the whole floor. Figured I’d have a bit of it, because why not? I’ll tell you why not: that piece of cake was 14 Points. It was pretty good cake, but not half-my-daily-target good. Giant, unplanned oopsie. Not even worth it.
Late-night Chef Boyardee Mac-N-Cheese.
See above, with the late-night noodles. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but it really wasn’t. I do like the canned macaroni and cheese, which sets me apart from a majority of grown-ups — but, even though it was tasty, it really wasn’t worth blowing the Points and contributing to messing up my weigh-in (because, yes, this was the evening before my weekly At-Work meeting).
Firstly, I don’t have to eat food just because it’s there. Just because someone brings in cake or donuts or what-have-you, I’m not obligated to incorporate that into my breakfast / snack / elevensies.
Secondly, I really need to keep some healthy, shelf-stable snacks at my desk. Things I like to eat, not just things to shove in my mouth to keep it quiet. Things that can help keep me from hitting the vending machine (not a problem in the above week, thankfully, but at other times). Things I can happily munch on instead of going to get a donut or three.
Thirdly, I need to enforce my No Food After Connor’s Bedtime rule. Only tea. Hell, we have doors on the kitchen entrance(s) — I could go as far as to literally close the kitchen after I pack lunches and make my evening tea. It’s hard to enforce my own rules for myself when I’m tired and my judgement is off, though. It always has been, either in the early morning (e.g. “Just get your ass out of bed NOW”) or at night before bed (e.g. “You know you really aren’t hungry”).
Finally: planning ahead is key. Planning what I will and won’t eat. Planning to leave enough Weekly Allowance Points for the occasional splurge. Looking up the Points for said splurges in advance to make sure I can “afford” them. I’ve always got my phone on me; there’s no excuse. Look up the cookie, or the cake, or the Tim Horton’s Boston Creme Doughnut beforehand, and that might give me enough reason to avoid it.
Mindful eating will solve many of my diet-related problems (and I mean “diet” in the what-I-eat sense, not necessarily the calorie-restriction sense).