I have been asked a lot of questions about food tracking.
Do I do it?
Do I count calories?
Do I worry about fat? etc....
Well, Yes I do track my food intake and also my activities, but this is only a recent thing for me within the past few months. I use FitDay and it did take awhile to get it set up the way I wanted it and I entered a lot of custom foods to make it easier to use. I gathered up all the foods I normally eat with my laptop on the counter and started entering the nutritional values for all of them. Then I combined things together that I normally put together in one meal, so I could just select the meals I always have prepared the same way in the same portion size and not have to select each individual ingredient separate. It works great, it is so handy and I like being able to look back and see the past data and see what I ate when I finally lost a pound after being stalled for a few weeks. Or check and see if I had a lot of sodium that resulted in water weight gain.
I had always just counted the carbs and not paid attention to anything else. I didn't realize it at first but I had cut so many things out and my portion sizes are small and I was only consuming 780-920 calories a day and I was getting light headed at the gym, but I wasn't hungry. I never intended on getting my calories that low and it is not healthy and it was not making me lose weight. It actually made me stall for a couple of months. My body wasn't getting enough calories and I was likely putting myself into borderline starvation mode even though I wasn't hungry. So I started to try and vary up my selections a bit more and not just live on tuna and grilled chicken, especially on days that I was going to the gym. I have to have a meal or a snack 30 minutes to an hour before going to the gym. It is usually something like boiled eggs, hamburger patty, baby carrots, a 2 oz. chunk of cheese or bacon.
In looking back at all this data next to each other and thinking about the foods I was eating most often when I was losing the most weight, I was having about 1500-1600 calories a day and about 100 to 150g of fat and staying under 20 carbs per day. Over time I had changed what I was normally eating almost every day and was just not eating enough anymore. I didn't ever think someone would tell me to eat more food! lol. That was a shock to hear for sure, because when I was 525 lbs and still eating carbs I would eat huge portions and still be hungry all the time. Anyway it was kind of fun to go get a bun-less Baconater and actually NEED the additional calories that it had instead of being afraid of having too many like a lot of people are when they think about eating a Baconator while losing weight. I love being low carb!!! I get to have my bacon! I <3 Bacon!!!
Anyway there is a link to Fit Day on the right hand side of my blog, or just go Here to sign up on FitDay.com I just use their free version and I like it, but I have been curious about their paid version. I might try it for a month or two and see if the added features are worth it. Before that I would use an Excel spreadsheet and I think FitDay is easier for comparing the data. My only real complaint is that is does not subtract the dietary fiber from the carbs, so I just manually adjust it by editing the food entry and if it was 10 carbs with 6 grams of fiber then I will just enter the carbs as 4 grams instead of 10. That way my numbers are accurate for the daily total.
Don't let the thought of tracking your food overwhelm you, especially if you are new to low carb. Just keep counting your carbs and get more comfortable with what foods you can have and what you need to avoid. But as you get closer to your goal and the longer you are low carb you will find yourself being less hungry and if you get to a point when you stall then you might want to take a closer look at everything you are consuming and see if you notice any patterns like I did with the extra sodium from. Different things affect people differently and tracking your food is not a requirement, but I highly recommend it. I am so strict on it now that I won't eat something unless I can enter it into my FitDay. During the day I will look at it and it often determines my dinner choice that day.
Some examples of the reports you can run in FitDay:
This is my own personal nutrition information as viewed like a food label. Information like this lets you see which nutrients you are deficient in and better evaluate if you want to take a multi-vitamin or not.
Just thought I would add this, if you happen to be on another plan like Weight Watchers that counts points, you could easily make FitDay work for you to help you track your points as well. Just pick one of the nutrients that isn't one you care about tracking like maybe "Monounsaturated Fat" since it is not commonly listed on food labels anyway or one of the minerals you don't want to count. But if you want it viewable on the main preview page then use something like the "Protein" value's slot. Then enter in the food values as normal but for that nutrients just enter the points value and know that, that nutrient really stands for your points. Then FitDay will add it up for you like normal and you will have a daily record of your points.