Hi Friends! Paul here!
This past fall I was chosen to be a brand ambassador for iTrackBites! I started my journey off at 409.8 lbs and losing weight was something I never thought would have been possible. I figured I would always be “stuck” at this weight and continue to gain. That is until I learned how to balance out my food choices and my mindset.
Well it’s been 7 long years of fighting the weight loss battle and I couldn’t be happier than I am today. As you can tell, I’ve seen some awesome weight-loss success! I’m currently tracking my meals and activity on the Better Balance plan. Here are the things you all wanted to know about my journey!
What made you choose iTrackBites? Then what made you decide on Better Balance?
For me personally, before coming to ITB I was on a similar plan and it worked for me for a long time. I loved the fact that I can work with almost anything around me to make my day work, but it still keeps me accountable to stay within my boundaries. I also love using the zero BITE foods as a base for what I am going to eat. Who doesn’t love free stuff?! The hardest part about the previous plan that I followed was feeling out of place. I never felt that there were men my age using the program who I could relate to and who I could talk about my plan with. There wasn’t a sense of a community there for me.
I learned about ITB through social media. I had several people I met through social media who loved the plan, so it was always in front of me. My wife made the jump first. At the time we were looking for something different, and we have loved the entire experience ever since. I feel like I have finally found not just an app or program that works for me, but my community.
Can you explain more about this plan specifically?
My biggest key to this plan is ZERO BITE FOODS!! They are your friend. The Better Balance plan has these zero bite foods to push you to eat more whole, healthy foods, but have the ability to fit in anything. Also, the one thing I have learned with this plan, is double metric is ESSENTIAL to success. I use the double metric of counting calories along with bites to make sure that I not only stay within my bite allotment but also do it in a healthy way as to make sure I am getting enough calories within my day. It’s so helpful to be able to see when my bites are gone, but I am under my calorie goal and evaluate how that makes me feel.
Do you eat zero-BITE foods? Which are your favorites to fill up on?
The zero bite foods are there for those days when you are out of bites, yet still hungry. You learn to plan your day around those zero bite foods. Zero bite foods are more than just fruits and veggies. There are a lot of good proteins that are zero bites as well. My favorite go to zero bite food is deli turkey. It’s a quick grab n go snack paired with a fruit and I feel like a truly have a snack that gets me through til my next meal. I honestly was not a big zero bite food eater before coming to ITB.
I always thought that I was getting filled and getting an adequate amount of food on previous plans because I was using my daily allotment of BITES that was allowed to me. I was staying in my “range” so occasionally I would have zero bite foods if I was hungry, but it wasn’t until I started ITB double metric. Seeing my calories, as well, helped me realized that there are some days I am WAY under my calorie goal. Seeing both has helped me adapt to eating many more zero bite foods, especially when I am working out frequently.
Can you give me an example of how weeklies are commonly used?
These can be used a variety of ways. I have seen some people who use their weeklies for bigger meals post-weigh in or for a celebration or special treat through the week.
For me, I usually weighed in at the beginning of the weekend and used most of my weeklies over the weekend after weighing in. I would still say I use most of my weeklies on the weekends and a few gradually through the week.
Do you track in grams? I’m interested in trying to!
For us, we usually track in ounces or cups. If we are building a recipe, using the recipe builder off the ITB app, we usually split it up into servings and measure everything that way.
How would you compare this plan to others? Or even just other diets/ methods you’ve seen?
I have personally done it all. I at one point had a diet where I only ate fudge bars and cottage cheese. 0/10 would recommend. I’ve done the vitamin or pill way where I took packs of vitamins all day and drank daily shakes. Wasn’t for me. Made me hate milkshakes for a time. Growing up we did the Atkins diet a few times. Nothing has really worked for me as well as this plan has. I honestly feel the other plans didn’t work for me as well because they were very specific and didn’t allow much freedom for me. I love this plan because it allows me the freedom while at the same time keeps me balanced. This is truly something I can sustain and stick with for the long haul.
How do you correctly divide your BITES each day?
Again this one varies a lot for me. A lot of the times for me it is eggs for breakfast in a 2 bite wrap and either ketchup, salsa, or tomato pesto sauce. Usually that’s approximately 5 bites. Or if I am not feeling up to eggs in the morning I may do a 2 bite protein shake with my coffee. Lunches on the go when working at school are usually a wrap/salad along with sides of some sort. Dinners are usually my highest point meal of the day. But there are also times when I have a treat for lunch or plan for a dessert, and then plan for a lower bite meal of chicken and roasted veggies for dinner. Planning my day ahead of time is one of the best habits that helps me stick to my bites each day.
Do you trust every single thing you enter to iTrackBites’ BITE count? Or do you manually add all your foods through quick add?
I usually trust what’s in there. If there are multiple things that are entered into it, I look at 3-4 items that others have entered and if they are roughly around the same bite value/ calories, then I trust it and go with it. For me though, I am not a detail person. I know for some, they want to make sure that they are putting in EXACTLY every bite they are putting in their mouth. This to me is not always possible. So, if I’m able to scan it in and I get results, I trust it. Everyone has to do it in a way that is comfortable and sustainable for them.
Do you follow a specific weigh in day?
I do. But it is strange. I use to weigh in every Friday. But about 3-4 months ago, I realized my weight is really stalling now that I’m close to the end of my losing journey. So, I’ve began tracking my weight once a month. For me, it has been a game changer. I still weigh myself every day but for me, the scale and being stuck in that routine of logging my weight officially every week, was a mental game. Now, its an easier way to manage my weight loss and feel so much better about my decision. Then I keep a monthly tracker calendar from month to month instead of week to week.
Hope this was helpful for you all! When embarking on a health and wellness journey, it’s wise to be realistic with honest with yourself. Better Balance works for me in a way that might not work for you. It’s important to consider your everyday life. If you’re interested, you can find the iTrackBites Better Balance Clinical Guide HERE! You can find me on Instagram HERE!