November 5, 2006
No One Cares What You Had for Lunch, subtitled “100 Ideas for Your Blog,” is an amusing little book put together by writer Margaret Mason, whose two sites draw 50,000 visitors a week. (Thanks to NaBloPoMo and its randomizer, I’m suddenly spiking to 350.) Mason wants to help people “create posts that keep visitors coming back.” Suggestion #99, “Obsess,” directs the writer to note everything in a given category for a certain amount of time: everywhere you go for a week, everything you buy for a month, every outfit you wear for a year. Ironically, the example she uses is Geoff Badner’s 2004 photo essay, “Appetite,” in which he photographed everything he ate for a week. “His most appealing photos,” write Mason, “are of the incidental snacks most people would never record.”
Well, Weight Watchers members would, or would be aware that they are supposed to be doing it. Weight Watchers wisdom holds that “journaling,” writing down everything you eat, along with its Points value and a check in the box if it’s a Milk or a Fruit/Vegetable selection or one of the six eight-ounce glasses of water you’re supposed to have every day, is the most important tool for success in weight loss.
I’m haphazard about this. Weight Watchers members get a little booklet every week with individual pages for the days, lines to write the food and the Points value, checkboxes to note the day’s requirements, and a place on the back for Notes and Questions to Ask My Leader. These booklets are free with your weigh-in. WW also makes a spiral notebook that holds twelve weeks of journaling pages. It costs $4. You can also buy electronic journal keepers that calculate your Points, store the information, keep track of pounds lost and pounds to goal and how many Points you have left for the day, and also do simple arithmetic.
I’m not an official Weight Watchers member anymore, so I don’t get the free tracker booklet. I never really liked it anyway. I made my own tracker pages in a desktop publishing program, with space to write and checkboxes that fit my needs. My design gives me a two-page spread of a full week which begins on Sunday, has a Notes section, and space for doodles and drawings.
Typically I track my food intake for while, more or less completely, although never obsessive enough to note the stray piece of taffy or the miniature Krackel bar that some businesses leave out for their customers. Sometimes I have fun decorating the pages with “You go, girl!” stickers. Sometimes I ask myself what I will do with all this information, and I throw several months’ worth of pages away.
I’m still haphazard, and last week I just scribbled, “Well, something!” on some of the days. This helps overcome my perfectionism (which manifests as a compunction to write neatly and fill in all the blanks rather than a need to fold and put away the laundry as soon as it’s done). Something worked, and this morning I found I was just more than half a pound closer to my goal for December 30.
And, for the record, for lunch today I had a whole box of Green Giant’s Simply Steam Green Beans and Almonds (panned by food critics Bonnie Leblang and Carolyn Wyman, but I like them) for 3 Points and 2½ Vegetables.
Goal: Be under 200 pounds by December 30, 2006
Pounds to Go: