Challenge 01: Food Log: Check-In

Ok, so it’s been approximately two weeks since the Food Log challenge started. How have you been doing? Have you logged everything you have ate or drank every day? I’m pretty sure I have at around 95%. So, naturally I would expect you to be asking, “Ok Mark. So I’ve been writing all this down. What’s the use?”

Well, there are a two main things at play helping to set the foundation for building better habits over time. The first is just the act of building consistency in something simple. How are you going to be consistent with something difficult if you can’t first be consistent with the easy. The second is collecting data. To make progress you first have to establish a baseline by recording data.

So, if you’ve been playing along at home lets start with the next step by first reviewing my data (in all it’s ugliness). But first, keep up your logging! Date, time, and food/drink. This is a 66 day challenge and we’re only 14 days in. If any of the following seems overwhelming then just continue with the logging and skip this (come back to it). It’s more important to build the consistency muscle. For those looking to level up…

10/1
6:50 – coffee
7:15 – malt o meal
9:10 – cold brew mocha
12:30 – pork, chicken, beans, potatoes 
2:15 – buddy bars
3:20 – cold brew mocha
5:40 – 4 fish sticks, chicken mush, mixed veggies
6:45 – 6 donut holes 
7:40 – 3 sips shake, 4pc cheese
8:30 – English muffin w butter
9:50 – 3 squares chocolate

10/2
6:40 – coffee & 4 donut holes
8:50 – latte
12:15 – 2pc pizza
6:25 – tortalini in sauce & Brussel sprouts
10:20 – Apple cider

10/3
7:30 – English muffin w PB, tortalini, coffee
9:15 – latte
3:40 – buddy bars
6:10 – shrimp stir fry
7:50 – 2 muffins

10/4
7:00 – coffee
8:40 – 2 donuts & cider
10:00 – donut & cider
1:40 – donut
2:00 – latte
6:40 – 2 quesadillas, avocado, 1 muffin
7:10 – tea

10/5
7:30 – coffee
8:10 – malt o meal
11:00 – coffee & 2 muffins
1:35 – 3/4 quesadilla, 1 muffin, rice
5:30 – latte, spicy Thai salad, baguette @ Panera
8:45 – chips, chips & dip
10:15 – 4 chocolate squares

10/6
7:30 – coffee
9:00 – coffee, 2 muffins, 5pc bacon, 3/4 English muffin w PB
12:45 – 1/3 Apple, 1.5pc pizza, 1/2 PBJ
5:50 – burger & fries @ Red Robin 
8:35 – popcorn

10/7
6:45 – coffee
10:10 – latte
2:20 – coffee, snack sized Reese’s & Snickers
6:30 – brisket chili, corn bread, Brussels sprouts, pie, ice cream
8:30 – avocado 
9:30 – Brussel sprouts

10/8
6:30 – coffee
9:00 – latte
12:00 – brisket chili 
4:45 – buddy bars
6:45 – brisket chili w rice, corn bread
8:00 – cheese cake and ice cream 
9:35 – chocolate peppermint tea

10/9
7:10 – coffee
1:00 – brisket chili 
2:00 – latte
6:50 – brisket chili, chips
10:15 – cornbread, banana 
11:00 – chocolate squares 
11:45 – meat sticks, cheese

10/10
7:40 – coffee 
8:50 – latte
12:30 – rolls, French fries, chicken fingers
4:00 – buddy bars
5:45 – 2 donuts, apple cider 
7:00 – 2 pork tacos
7:45 – donut
8:15 – applesauce w ice cream, tortilla w cinnamon butter

10/11
7:00 – coffee, 2 donuts
8:00 – coffee 
10:40 – chicken fingers, donut 
2:15 – ham & cheese sandwich, carrots, pear
6:00 – bammi, nachos, coffee
8:50 – cheesecake

10/12
7:15 – coffee, donut holes 
8:20 – coffee, bagel w PB
11:00 – latte
12:45 – burger, chips
7:20 – coffee, salmon, rice, beans
8:30 – ice cream

10/13
8:45 – coffee, donut holes
9:15 – coffee
2:15 – Thai salad, baguette, latte @ Panera
6:00 – Fudge
6:20 – 2pc pizza, fudge

Alright. So besides how absolutely riveting that information is, let’s start to put some of the data to work. For example, I can see that the earliest I ate or drank anything was 6:30am, but generally my food/drink consumption tends to begin around 6:50am. The latest I ate anything was 11:45, and generally my food/drink consumption end time is all over the board. Also, there are way more sweets on there than I’m excited about, and definitely not enough fruits and veggis – as my wife will be quick to point out :).

Well, the next easiest thing is to start tablizing the information like so (note, your table may be different, but feel free to copy this if you’re looking for inspiration – I’m sure it will be enhanced over time anyway)…

Date1st food/drinkLast food/drinkFruitsVeggies
10/16:50 AM9:50 PM02
10/26:40 AM10:20 PM01
10/37:30 AM7:50 PM01
10/47:00 AM7:10 PM10.5
10/57:30 AM10:15 PM03
10/67:30 AM8:35 PM0.50
10/76:45 AM9:30 PM12
10/86:30 AM9:35 PM01
10/97:10 AM11:45 PM10
10/107:40 AM8:15 PM00
10/117:00 AM8:50 PM11
10/127:15 AM8:30 PM01
10/138:45 AM6:20 PM02

… with is slightly depressing when looked at it in that way, but since we were base-lining and we’re not passing judgment – it is what it is. Based on the table, other data, and podcasts/articles there are 3 things I want to focus on…

  1. Finish eating/drinking at least 2 hours (3-4 preferably) before bed (which in my case means generally by 7-9pm – but I’m going to target 8pm).
  2. Increase my fruit/veggie intake.
  3. Decrease my sweets/junk food intake.

So what about you? How are you doing with your logging? What do you want to focus on in the coming weeks?

Challenge 01: Food Log

Ok, here’s the first 66 day challenge/habit… Log everything you eat and the time of day. Doesn’t matter if you take photos of everything, write it down electronically, on paper, or do some combination, but by the end of the day have 1 consolidated list of everything you ate – including those little snack size Snickers I know you’re eyeing – seeing as it is near Halloween and all 🙂

Now, do that for 66 days. Every day. Every thing you eat (and drink).

See, super easy! I’m not even asking you to change anything about what you eat or drink. Just write it all down. Now, this may be simple for some, but if you’re like me I’ve tried to do this time and again. Usually by about the 4th day I miss something, then just say “ah, what’s the use” and quit.

Using HabitShare this is actually pretty easy – as I’ve been piloting it for a couple days. On any day, you can tap the circle for the day, then just click the triple ellipse “…”, I select the “Empty” icon at the start of the day, add your entry to the text area, and save. At the end of the day, just set the status to “Success” (the green check) if you’ve logged everything. You can even setup multiple reminders throughout the day so that you have a little tickler. For me I have 3 reminders for my “Log Food” habit scheduled at 7:15am, 12:30pm, and 7:15pm.

Now, obviously this is setting us up for future challenges, but for now the goal is to get in the habit of tracking and logging something daily. As I mentioned, don’t worry about analyzing or adjusting now unless you truly get the itch. Just build the logging/tracking habit.