Why taking breaks from tracking your food can lead to long-lasting results
If you’re like me, it has reached that point in year where you’re itching for a break from the daily grind. My husband conveniently turned 50 this past weekend, and although I surprised him with a mountain getaway, it was a much-needed vacation for me as well. I’m not talking about a sit-by-the-pool-drinking-margs kind of vacation (although that sounds divine!). We are active people who love to explore. We did a long, strenuous hike in the east Tennessee mountains then celebrated with pizza and s’mores.
The best part about this vacation was the break from tracking my food. I left my food scale at home and I logged a few foods each day in MyFitnessPal so I didn’t break my 204-day tracking streak in MyFitnessPal (call me a cheater, I don’t care!). Each of those days wasn’t perfect, but I have been consistent. We all know that “consistency is key,” but you know what is also key? Giving yourself a mental break every once in awhile.
If you’re in calorie deficit and have a weight loss goal, this doesn’t mean that you take a break every weekend. Maybe you take a break once you hit a mini goal on the way to your main goal. Or maybe you give yourself a day off each month or a weekend off every two months. You have to do what’s best for you so that you can create a sustainable plan for yourself that will work for you in the long term. If you are on a weight loss journey, you are going to get burned out every once in awhile, it’s just a fact!
Taking a break from tracking doesn’t mean that you should eat everything in sight though! Here are some tips for staying on track while not tracking:
- Prioritize your protein: Choose lean protein sources like white-meat chicken and turkey, fish, tofu, tempeh, plain Greek yogurt, lentils, etc.
- Eat the rainbow of whole fruits and veggies: Whole foods are higher in volume and lower in calories with more vitamins, fiber and micronutrients than most processed foods. They will keep you feeling full longer.
- Only splurge on your absolute favorite foods: Ask yourself if you REALLY want it/crave it or if you’re just eating because you’re bored. Prioritize your favorite foods and leave the rest of the stuff behind.
- Get right back to tracking. If you are tracking macros, give yourself that day or two of rest every once in awhile and then get back to it! Don’t let one or two days lead to completely falling off the wagon. Don’t punish yourself with extra cardio or calorie deprivation afterward. You had your day or two of fun, now it’s time to get back down to business.