1/4″ Seams and Food Journals
Quarter inch seams and food journals, what could these two things possibly have in common? It’s easy; they both add up. When I first started quilting, I had a lot of experience as a seamstress, but absolutely no experience sewing anything else. I read through my first quilt pattern and thought “this seems easy enough”. What I missed was the scant 1/4″ seam allowance. Dresses and other garments all have a 1/2″ or 5/8″ seam allowance. Although technically you want these to be consistent throughout the seam, it really doesn’t make a difference as long as you are close. Turned out that didn’t apply to quilting. As I’m sure most of you already know, it makes a huge difference in how your quilts go together. You probably won’t be too surprised to hear that, on my first quilt, my points were not pointy, and my seams did not line up. That small incremental difference in seam size added up to a quilt with way to much fullness. Which, no surprise, did no lay flat in the slightest.
What got me reminiscing about that first quilt from almost twenty years ago? Surprisingly enough, starting my food journal. I thought I had a pretty good idea of what I was actually eating calorie wise every week, until I started writing it all down. It is amazing how fast those calories add up with just a little snack here and there. Think about that scant 1/4″ seam again. If you used a 5/16″ seam (or a long 1/4″) instead, in 50 seams you will have gained over 3″! A sixteenth of an inch doesn’t seem like much, but it adds up quick. The same, unfortunately, applies to food. I found that not only was I surprised at how may calories I was actually consuming, but that I actually started eating less, when I wrote it all down. This was reinforced by the calorie tracking program I use. You tell it what you weigh and how much you want to lose, and it tells you how many calories you need. When you enter a food, it subtracts it from the number of calories you have allotted for the day. When you enter an exercise, it adds to the number of calories. Watching the number get smaller with everything I ate, and thinking about how much exercise I would need to do to offset it, really made me think long and hard before I ate something.
I also started thinking about what I was eating. Not just how much. When I eat more protein rich foods, I get more “bang for my buck” so to say. As opposed to a chocolate chip cookie, which has a lot of calories, but no real nutritional benefit. Does this mean that I only ate healthy this week? Not a chance, I working to improve my lifestyle, but giving up chocolate entirely is sacrilegious. I am, however, learning to make better choices. Just like I learned to pay close attention to that scant 1/4″, I’m learning how important it is to really pay attention to what I eat.