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Using a Food Tracker vs. Disordered Eating
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Hi everyone, I'm not 100% sure how to ask this, but I figured The Womens would be more helpful than the, ahem, general forum:

I am just getting back into the sport after more than a decade away, and seeing some real gainz: swim yardage piling up, watts on bike increasing, etc. But I know two things: 1) I really need to dial in my nutrition by making sure I'm hitting macros and getting sufficient caloric intake, and 2) lose weight -- thanks to all those years away sitting on my butt plus the "COVID 15", the extra lbs. make running uncomfortable (FWIW: I would need to lose about 15-18 pounds to get back to my racing weight). I also know that the best way to do this is by tracking. So yesterday I re-downloaded and signed into Cronometer (I hate MyFitnessPal) and it was, to borrow a phrase from the youths, triggering.

I have a history of disordered eating (by which I mean: I am 45 y/o woman who grew up in American diet culture and all the bullsh!t that entails), and just looking at the calories in vs. calories out gave me the heebee jeebees. I took some deep breaths and tried to focus on the nutrition end of things: fiber, carbs, vitamins. But all I could think about was "I need to burn moar calories!!" I closed the app and didn't enter anything beyond lunch for that day.

So, my questions is/are: do you use an app tracker? Have you found it useful or do you find it creates a pile-on effect of general angst? Do you have any suggestions for reminding myself that the app is just a tool and for using it accordingly? Any experience with using a tracking app like MFP or Cronometer without getting too dragged into the weeds of orthorexia or calorie counting?

Sorry that this is both long and somewhat nonsensical, but if anyone has any advice or suggestions I'd love to hear them!

[what Yoda said about trying]
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Re: Using a Food Tracker vs. Disordered Eating [Bastet] [ In reply to ]
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I also have a history of disordered eating and I don't track food. I weigh myself once or twice a week and eat what I want, when I want. Giving myself permission to do that has made a huge difference for me - I've had relatively few days in which I've engaged in ED behaviors since mid May when I started that "eat what you want when you want and see what happens" approach. My weight has been either stable or gone down 2 ish pounds (depends on what you want to count as loss - so easy for hydration etc to mess w the number on the scale). I am getting faster. So very happy :-)

Oddly what has been helpful for me is weighing myself a couple times a week and getting used to the variation - for the most part I've stopped reacting to what are like 4 lb differences some days.

Tracking calories would be triggering for me. I eat a lot and I'm okay with that generally but the calorie number would freak me out I think.

maybe she's born with it, maybe it's chlorine
If you're injured and need some sympathy, PM me and I'm very happy to write back.
disclaimer: PhD not MD
Last edited by: Dr. Tigerchik: Oct 10, 22 7:58
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Re: Using a Food Tracker vs. Disordered Eating [Dr. Tigerchik] [ In reply to ]
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Thank you for this -- I truly appreciate the honesty.

You're right about what is triggering leading to other, undesirable behaviors. That was my initial fear, and why I'm definitely not going to weigh myself (that's my super, mega, ultra trigger) any time soon. But the compromise I've made is to only track on days I have biggish workouts. I've also make it a point to remind myself that 1) what I'm really using this tool for is to make sure I'm getting sufficient carbs (nope! lol) and 2) that I'm doing it to make sure I don't fall too far behind in calorie intake, because I'm 98% sure what derailed me in the past was chronic underfueling. Fortunately, Cronometer will let you toggle over to the display of targets like fiber and protein where calories aren't necessarily visible. I'm happy to report that this "one foot in, one foot out" approach seems to be keeping the disorderliness at bay -- it's not much but it feels like progress.

Anyway, thanks again and best of luck to you on your journey. :)

[what Yoda said about trying]
Last edited by: Bastet: Oct 10, 22 12:14
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