What Tracking My Calories for One Day Taught Me

On Wednesday I posted what I would normally eat in a day where I had an evening run scheduled. Now, that evening run didn’t go quite as planned, but that’s really just part of life and sometimes that’s just how things work out. No biggie.

As a bit of an experiment, I decided to also track my calories, something I don’t regularly do, and something I probably haven’t done in a year or so.

Honestly? I was pretty surprised by the result. There is no way I would have guessed I was consuming roughly 2,000 calories a day. After the shock wore off, I decided to really sit down and evaluate what I was putting into my body. Was it helping me? Was it hurting me? Are there any tweaks I can make to serve my training and my body better?

After spending some time reflecting and looking at my macros from last week, I came up with a few (hopefully) simple and easy tweaks to make.

More Protein

Here’s the breakdown of my macros (carbs, protein, fat) from Thursday.

 photo (47)

For me I’d say my protein was low on Thursday. This is possibly because I had a sandwich for dinner instead of my normal protein + vegetables for dinner, but the protein in my lunch was also lower than I would have liked.

So, I want to make sure I’m consuming sufficient protein at lunch and dinner.

Limit Alcohol

I’ve gotten into the habit of having a beer or a glass of wine nearly every day and I’d like to reduce it. Am I going to completely give up booze? Oh heck no. Not a freaking chance. But I would like to limit it to the weekends and for special events only.

Reduce Sugar

On Thursday I gave the remaining bag of the Reese’s goodies to my friend when I met him for dinner on Thursday. I was eating far too much sugar just as random snacks (you know, just grabbing a handful as I walked by the bag) and while I would never completely give up dessert, I do think limiting the added sugar I’m eating would be helpful.

Fish & Red Meat

I’ve fallen into a bit of a dinner rut.

There’s nothing wrong with salads and chicken, but I think a bit more variety would be wise, so I’d like to eat fish twice a week and red meat once a week which the remaining four dinners being a good balance of protein and vegetables.

None of these changes a huge, but I do feel they’ll make a difference in the way I’ve been feeling and hopefully will have a positive impact on my training.

More Water

A food quirk I neglected to mention yesterday was that I don’t like cold water. I know. Weird. I prefer room temperature water, and since it’s been so cold lately, I’ve been avoiding water because I don’t want to be cold. That said, water is super important for running, healthy skin and keeping my metabolism at its best, so I’m going to try for more water as well.


I started eating by these guidelines at the beginning of the week, and I can say I feel so much better!

I also hate to say it, but I really do feel better after no drinking – even if it’s just a glass of wine. Major sad face, here 😉

I can’t decide if I felt sick on Monday (I went home with dizziness and a fever and still had a low-grade fever on Tuesday) because I consumed too much sugar or if I was really ill. Monday morning I had a (tall, non-fat, half-sweet) white chocolate mocha and a cookie the size of my face and felt awful after. I know that could explain Monday, but I’m not so sure about Tuesday…..

I ate well after that and noticed a huge improvement on Wednesday and Thursday. I did Monday’s run on Wednesday (easy 13k) and felt good and then I banged out a killer speed workout last night. I felt amazing. It was the longest interval workout I’ve done and I feel like I killed it.

Looks like low sugar and no booze is working for me 😉

Tell me: What tweaks have you made in your diet recently?


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23 thoughts on “What Tracking My Calories for One Day Taught Me

  1. I am right with you on the protein front! I was not eating nearly enough at all! The biggest source I had was protein bars which is ridiculous! Now I make sure I am even adding in some protein for my daily snacks and I have to say I am never bloated now! I love it!

    • I went through a phase where my dinner was a protein bar. I was working 2-10 so I had to bring dinner and I thought a protein bar was healthy. Yikes!!

      • Oh they are haha but I mean I wasn’t eating real protein like eggs and chicken and fish I think it’s good to keep a balance !

  2. I eat about 2000 calories a day now and once marathon #2 is over I may try to cut back to about 1700-1800. I counted calories for years (and I still kind of keep a mental tally in my head each day) but now that I know I eat healthy (for the most part) I just let my hunger be my guide. For years I ate 1200-1400 calories a day (before I was a runner) and I was okay with that, but I can’t fathom eating that little again!

    • I definitely keep a mental tally and I try to limit myself to one sweet treat per day (if I can). I was also on the 1200 calories a day train for a while. I’m pretty sure I’d eat my arm if I ever tried that again!

  3. I’ve cut back on drinking and coffee. My coffee intake was nothing ridiculous, I’d have a coffee in the morning before or on the way to work, I love my coffee but I decided to go back to Fri, Sat and Sunday coffee drinking and it has made a difference. Same with booze, I’m like you, a drink with or before dinner, nothing excessive but I’ve just started to cut that out again and limit it to special occasions and the weekend.

    • I think I’d die if I didn’t have coffee every morning. It’s one of those things I really look forward to. I only drink it in the morning and never have more than two cups, though.

    • It does! When I first starting using it, I did it in a really unhealthy way, which is why I stepped away from it for a while, but I found it really useful last week. I doubt I’ll track every day, but it’s nice to just check in and see how I’m doing.

    • I’m definitely an evening snacker. Mmmmm cheese and crackers in mah belly! 🙂
      For me it’s definitely boredom, I try to have a cup of tea and stretch instead. Sometimes it works.

  4. I like room temperature water too! My bf thinks it’s so weird, haha. I like idea of food logging to see what your macro intakes are or food trends like too much sugar or something to see how it affects how you feel rather than tracking to focus on calorie numbers. Ugh, I lost some weight eating 1300 calories a day and could NEVER eat that little again

    • Yes, I agree it’s much better used to check your macro intakes instead of numbers. Especially when MFP gives everyone 1200 calories for weight loss – that’s not even close to accurate!

    • I used to find it cumbersome doing it everyday. I think I’m going to track every other week or so, just to check in and make sure I’m still on track. I find I eat the same thing every day, so that makes checking in pretty easy for me.

  5. Ahh it’s so interesting for me to read this!! I tracked pretty consistently for 2-3 years, and intermittently the past year. I started tracking again this week bc I noticed I was maintaining my half marathon eating levels, even though I’m not training anymore. It’s a good tool for me to reassess my diet and eating habits every once in a while.

    After tracking this week, I also noticed I need more protein and I had the EXACT SAME realization about alcohol. I rarely “binge” drink, but even just a glass or 2 of wine a night adds so many calories. And I swear I must be getting old, cuz any more than 2 and I always feel like crap the next day!

    • I very much agree that it’s good to assess everything periodically. It had been a long time since I last did it, so it was defnitely time.
      I also find if I have a drink (or two) I eat more because “Mmmmm. cheese sounds good” so I add WAY more calories than just the wine itself. Oops :/
      I now suffer from the two day hangover. It’s enough to keep me from drinking too much. No one wants to be hungover for two days 😦

  6. We need to guest post for each other. I have decided. Sorry that was random. And the You are fucking awesome banner is amazeballs.
    Right now I am working on increasing good calorie intake via more of everything, not just one of something specific, but with an eye on my sugar. And getting more in during the first half of the day. I tend to consume the majority of my cals in the PM, a hold over from the dieting phases when I was heavier and wanted to “save” calories. But then I end up gorging/need to gorge at night to make up for it. Which is no bueno. And throws my energy and blood sugar off in the am.
    Basically, I suck at life 😀 But at least I’m good at it.

    • Guest post? Hell yes!!
      I definitely struggle with snacking in the evenings. It seems to be when I’m enjoying a glass of wine, because wine + cheese and crackers is perfection. My biggest struggle is morning runs and wonky blood sugar. It’s something I used to struggle with years ago, and now it’s back and it’s oh so frustrating.
      You can add me to the suck at life club 😉 But hey, I have a smile on my face, so that counts, right?!

  7. Pingback: Link Love: 4/12 | Cowgirl Runs

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