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My little LoseIt program for my ipod touch is teaching me a few things. I've never really counted calories before, and I see this as being of more value for food journaling, but the calorie thing is teaching me a few things.
1. Craving battles. Empty calories just leave me hungry for more and fill up my calorie allotment for the day without being at all satisfying. Even though they are what I crave when I'm having one of those days, they aren't what I NEED when I'm having one of those days. I can nosh down a whole plateful of veggies, with olive oil or ghee, sea salt, etc., for fewer calories than most junk and packaged foods. I have now learned to pig out on healthy foods when I'm stressed, it leaves me satisfied and doesn't mean I have to skip a meal in order to stay within my calorie goal.
2. The program greatly underestimates the power of the BTD/GTD way of eating. I've had to increase my calorie goal by about 200, and I still go over some days, but lose weight faster than what it says I will (even taking exercise calories into consideration, which it does).
3. Someone can eat just one. If I find myself cheating, I can and do stop after one bite. I have to track it in my log, whatever I eat, and how much. Then I hold myself accountable for it.
3. Rewards are no longer edible. I reward myself with a new mp3 each day that I am BTD/GTD compliant. It costs less than most junk food rewards, but I can enjoy it for as long as I want without bad health consequences. The program tells me if I've eaten too much, the log tells me if I've eaten the wrong things, and if so, I don't get the reward.
4. Taekwondo burns a whole lot of calories! On days when I work out I'm often very hungry. Now I know why and how hungry I should be...so I can plan to eat a bit more rather than sticking with the low calorie goal, starving and ending up cheating.
5. Know when I'm full. It's nice to have a visual reminder of when I've had enough food for the day, which isn't usually until after dinner when everybody else is looking for dessert...the program tells me that I'm full and helps me to say no to empty calorie desserts. I give myself some leeway of course, if I do feel hungy at that point or need something sweet I can eat some compliant fruit, and as long as it's compliant, I can still get my reward. (Compliance outweights calories)
I'm still sticking to no food after dinner is over, that's not a new key, but it's a keeper. Leeway goes to raw veggies if it's been a crazy day or I haven't gotten enough calories.