View Single Post
Old 11-13-2008, 09:00 PM   #3
Emily Mattes
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 727

The short answer: Yes if you have a healthy relationship with food. No if you don't, because it will probably backfire on you.

The long answer:

It really depends on how your weight-loss and performance goals are going, and how susceptible you are to going crazy on tracking them.

First of all, if eating clean without careful weighing-and-measuring is not getting you the results you want, then it is a good idea to track and measure just to see what needs tweaking.

However, it takes a certain sort of mindset to be able to do this without getting too OCD and obsessive, and for the vast majority of fitness-minded, healthy women I would not advocate weighing and measuring simply because a lot of women in that category are close enough to body-image and eating disorders as it is without the added pressure. I am sure there are physically active women out there who are perfectly happy about their bodies whether they're at 13%, 18%, or 24% body fat and just like tweaking carb, fat, and protein percentages to observe the resultant effects on performance and body composition. But I would say these women are maybe 5% of the population. The rest of us go kind of nutters.

It follows from there that if you have had ANY experience with ANY eating disorder, whether it be bulimia, anorexia, binging, anything, and you are not significantly overweight, do NOT weigh and measure until you have been better for at least a few years. Your psychological well-being is far, far more important than dropping a few pounds, and I have observed enough healthy people on forums burn themselves out tracking and measuring to recommend anybody with a past history of compulsively tracking foods or going through binging-restricting periods to do it unless they are absolutely sure a healthy relationship with food has been re-established.

If you do have a history of binging, bulimia, whatever, you are close enough to the disorder that weighing-and-measuring is not a good idea, and you really want to drop some weight, then first make sure you are totally Paleo. I am guessing for the vast majority of healthy people, if their diet is completely Paleo and they're exercising regularly they are probably going to reach a pretty healthy weight for their size unless they're drinking olive oil and eating nut butters like they were going out of style. I mean, they're not going to be fitness-model body fat percentages, but you are going to be at a healthy, normal weight. That said, if after this you're still unhappy with your body fat, use the 2/3-1/3 rule of thumb: Two-thirds of the plate is covered with green, leafy vegetables (kale, broccoli, spinach, etc) with some non-green, non-starchy vegetables mixed in (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, etc). The last one-third is protein. Then mix some fat in, whether it's sprinkling nuts and olive oil over the top, cooking the protein in fat, or eating a very fatty piece of meat. Add more or less fat depending on how weight loss is going--err on the side of too much and cut down slowly.

If you think you'll be OK with W&M, I wouldn't bother with weighing and measuring green vegetables. Tomatoes, carrots, squash, and other vegetables that are a little more calorie and carb heavy, go ahead and approximate the amount you're eating. But the difference between eating one, two, and four cups of spinach is so negligible that unless you're on a serious crash diet it's not worth including and you don't want to discourage yourself from eating such terrifically healthy foods by worrying about the little bit of calories they're providing.

Finally, you know you can use Fitday for free online, right? There are also plenty of other free calorie-counting online programs out there, so unless you really want it on your computer itself you shouldn't have to pay for anything.

(Also, I say all this as a woman who has had past experience with eating disorders and has subsequently done quite a bit of research on the topic, so I hope I do not come off as condescending or talking out of my ass.)
Emily Mattes is offline   Reply With Quote