My young son, like most toddlers, has a piggy bank. Every evening he and his Daddy have fun putting spare change from Dad’s pockets into the pig. In fact, we’ve had to empty the pig contents several times in the past months. It sure does fill up quickly. Before the pig, the spare change was just left lying on the dresser, leaving us with a big mess, and no idea how much had accumulated.

What do piggy banks and food choices have in common? I honestly would have had no idea before this past week when I decided to start keeping a food journal. Calories are a lot like the spare change from my husband’s pockets, they add up fast. Unfortunately, before I started writing them all down, they were exactly like the mess on our dresser, only harder to clean up, or loose.

Since having my son two-and-a-half years ago, I have attempted numerous times to loose the extra ‘baby weight’. Although becoming harder to do so everyday, I have to laugh at the ‘baby weight’ excuse. Honey, the so called ‘baby weight’ was lost when the bundle made his first shrill squeal at the hospital. What I’m packing around is twenty pounds of pocket change with no pig to put it in

At the end of the first day of ‘food journaling’, I expected to discover a miraculous remedy for what’s ailing meand guess what? I did. I discovered that I eat too much. Huh? That’s it? I eat too much? Actually, it’s not the quantity, most of the time anyway, but the choices that are the problem. But come on, I had no idea that one stinking piece of American cheese had seventy calories, and forty-five of them came from fat. Boy, nibbling on a few of those through out the day can shoot your entire plan to heck.

The first day I just ate and wrote it all down. Other than trying to remember to jot down the food and calories for each bit I ate, I didn’t change a thing. After needing to use a calculator to add it all up that night, the reality was heavier than all of the piggy bank change in the world. I really needed to make some healthier choices in what I was consuming each day.

Food journaling has opened my eyes not only to how my choices were preventing weight loss, but how easy it is to just pop quick snacks into my mouth rather than planning my meals for the day. I’ve also taken up another foreign conceptthe art of exercise. Just like emptying the pig when it gets too full, I’m depositing extra calories everyday with some very much needed walking.

At the end of your day, are you just dumping your spare change on the dresser, or do you keep count of how much you’ve accumulated? Come on. You can do it. You’ll be surprised at how fast those nickelsahem, calories, can add up! Bank those calories in your own food journal today.

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