Thursday, October 24, 2013

Photos of Food

If you've followed my blog at all, you've probably noticed that I focus more on the fitness than the food. I feel like I've got a pretty good handle on exercise, but I have NOT mastered food at all. It's a challenge. Every. Single. Day. 

I'd seen many bloggers post pictures of what they eat. In fact, there is a very popular link up called "What I Ate Wednesday" and you would not believe the participation (100+ each week).  I really never figured I would join in ... I'm too embarrassed to open up my electronic food diary on MFP. But I figured that could be a goal to strive for ... to have even ONE day during the week when I kept things in control enough that I felt I could share. I thought I could try making a photo food diary (in addition to keeping up my calorie counting on MFP) to see if that impacted me at all.  I felt it did! 

I read about an app called "Meal Snap" which seemed like a good way to organize and track my food photos. It was $3. It keeps all the pictures of my meals organized (breakfast, lunch, dinner, etc.) and my days separate. This app even gives me a calorie estimate based on the photo and description. Now ... THAT can be pretty dang inaccurate, but you can go edit things with a corrected count. It's just interesting to see the calorie count it comes up with at times!

I found that taking pictures of what I was going to eat before I ate it DID improve my intake. Just knowing there was going to be photographic evidence, I think I tried a little bit harder than I normally do. Even the simple process of taking a picture was helpful ... I had to stop and think about what I was going to eat, and was it worth it.  No mindless eating. I did more actual meals, instead of grazing and constant snacking during the day. It was interesting to literally look back on what I'd eaten.

Will I continue to take pictures of my food? I'm not sure I'll do it every day, but I think I might try to do it at least one day a week. I don't know that I'll be participating in this link up again, but maybe every once in a while (I won't stop my food diary on MFP anytime soon).  So here was my food photo diary for the day ...

Breakfast: A little instant oatmeal, topped with cinnamon (the cinnamon grinder is a cute idea, but it was a bit of a pain, I think I'd prefer just to sprinkle ground cinnamon and not work my wrists so much).  I also have a picture of the oatmeal in the first cup ... I wasn't watching and it overflowed -  oops!

Lunch: Homemade chicken and veggie soup. I did go ahead and enter the ingredients into MFP to get a calorie estimate. I did have to enter this one manually as the Meal Snap estimate was way too low.

Afternoon Snack: I'm trying to get a piece of fruit in my food diary each day. This is a challenge for me! Tortilla chips are a common snack item though. Admittedly, I often do eat them straight from the bag (I know that's a no-no). See ... my MealSnap made me actually put a single portion in a bowl. 

Dinner: I definitely could have eaten better for dinner, but the kids requested this and I did partake. I tried the diet trick of using a small plate.

Today's Treat: In a recent Saturday Spotlight I mentioned an article about Oreo Addiction. I can resist the standard oreos, but these homemade ones ... they are just too yummy! And I must admit, I ate first, then took a picture (and added up the calories) after. Oops & Ouch! Luckily there are never any leftovers to temp me. My boys eat them all! But there is an expectation that I make these at least once a week. I hadn't made them on Sunday (the usual day) and had some pouts ... and that was from hubby!

In my post on Monday, I talked about how helpful I thought apps can be (My Appy Place). In my Tuesday post  (Picture Imperfect), I talked about improving appearance in pictures. I thought it a bit ironic that today's post is a bit of a combo of the two topics! My helpful app "Meal Snap" and I found I actually tried to improve the presentation for the pictures ... even if it was just photos of food.

Have you ever tried using a "photo food diary"?
Do you think a picture can be better than a written record?

Because I had set a goal for myself to share my food diary for a day ... I'll say I achieved it. That is my NSV for the week. Linking up with Katie for her weekly Non-Scale Victory linkup! I DO hope this will help with a regular old scale victory too though!  Even at about 2100 calories in for the day, I did have more than my 500 calorie deficit (TDEE was over 3000 with all my activity). I would like to stay closer to 2000 calories in a day ... another goal.


  1. You and I seem really similar in our habits and goals-- I'm also a cardio junkie but I struggle on the food side of things. Lately I've been toying with the idea that my constant cardio is increasing my appetite, and not really giving me the results I'm looking for anyway. (I run 5 days a week and go to a vinyasa yoga class the other 2 days, but haven't lost any weight in a month.) Just something to consider, it's something I'll be taking into account in the coming weeks :)

  2. I have a photo album of a lot of the regular meals I eat on my facebook page, From Fat to Fit. I had people constantly asking me what I ate, so I would take a photo and post it. It got to be too much to do every single day, but when I eat something I haven't posted, I do try to remember to take a pic. :)

  3. I really don't have a handle on food. I'm looking forward to future posts about how well Meal Snap works for you.

  4. I am so with you, the food part is so much harder than the fitness part! Interested app!

  5. I had no idea about these photo food snapping apps maybe someday I will try one out. Good job sharing and I think it is great it made you count the chips :D


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