Call it tedious, but it worked. Jason Swenk, 35, of Atlanta, Georgia lost 50 pounds by doing nothing more than taking pictures of his food. The process started after Jason saw a considerable weight gain once graduating college and getting an office job.
Though he’d always exercised and stayed active, Jason admitted he was filling up on the wrong kinds of foods, relying on whatever was “fast and easy.” This led him to reach his highest weight of nearly 260 pounds.
But when he recognized his habits were causing a change in his energy levels, always leaving him feeling tired and moody, Jason knew it was time for a change. “I also wanted to make sure I could be active and live a long life with my kids,” he said.
To lose the weight, Jason started taking pictures of everything he ate and then recording how he felt hours later. The act of taking pictures of his food spurred an “ah-ha” moment that led Jason to approach dieting differently. “One night I went back to keep snacking and kept taking pictures of everything and it clicked,” he said. “I was eating so much food and from then on, it changed.”
Jason’s new diet approach paid off and he lost more than 50 pounds. This surprising success eventually inspired Jason to create a mobile app modeled after his approach, which he named Goalvator. He wanted to help others lose weight as effectively as he did.
Goalvator is a free app that allows users to take pictures of everything they eat, share their photos with friends, and most importantly, track how their food makes them feel afterwards. Jason believes this vital step helps users make the connection between food and how it affects our mood.
“It allowed me to get a visualization of everything I ate. It also reminded me to share how I felt a couple hours later,” he said.
For Jason, it wasn’t about losing weight, but rather, feeling better. Along the way he discovered food was a major factor to improving his energy levels and mood, and he just happened to lose weight in the process.
Throughout his weight loss journey, Jason considers his biggest personal triumph to be when he finally discovered which foods gave him energy and ultimately, life.
Besides losing the last few pounds to reach his ultimate goal weight of 200 pounds, Jason simply hopes to maintain his weight loss and continue tracking everything he eats.
One piece of advice Jason offers to those struggling to lose weight? “Food journals are amazing, but you need to track how you feel related to your activity to make corrections to what is not working and keep repeating what works.”