So, should you be tracking your food? Or not? Simply put, yes. And more importantly, start today.
I’ll tell you right now if you are serious about making change you should be serious about tracking the food you are eating.
I found as a coach that this is one of those objectives that is very difficult for people. And I get it, not only am I asking you to watch everything that you eat now I am asking you to write down, measure and accurately depict the things you eat. But the benefits of doing this outweigh the negatives all over the place!
Here are just a few reasons why you should log the food you eat if you truly want to see some changes in your physique, energy, performance or any other physical goal you have.
Increased Weight Loss:
People who regularly track their food intake for 5-6 days per week are much more likely to lose weight and keep it off than those who do not monitor their food intake.
And this is not a little bit of a difference; studies found that people who logged their daily food intake, for at least 6 days per week, were losing weight up to two times more than those who didn’t log their food.
So, if you could possibly double up your weight loss efforts just by paying attention to the food you ate each day, wouldn’t you? If your answer is no here then you could probably stop reading because nothing else in this article will convince you more than this first statement… otherwise let’s continue.
Keeping a regular food log keeps you accountable to the foods you are putting into your body. When you are more aware of the “bad” foods you are eating and know that you are going to eventually log that burger and those French fries then you are less likely to partake. Or at the very least you will probably choose a smaller portion.
It’s my experience that when clients of mine log foods more regularly they tend to make the smarter food choice that looks better on paper. It’s never fun seeing that you had a killer workout then went and ruined it with a ton of junk food.
Food logs let you know if you are getting the proper amount of nutrients throughout the day. This is especially the case if you use some of the online tools that track every little detail (Myfitnesspal or Fitday).
When you track your food you can see if you are getting enough protein throughout the day or if your sodium levels are just a bit too high. These are things we just would not think about if we are just munching down on anything we want all day long.
I know many people who use these tools just for tracking their water intake because they tend to not drink enough throughout the day. So, these tracking and logging tools are awesome in giving you a snapshot of how you did for the day or week and how you need to make adjustments for optimum performance.
Now you know you need to be logging you food. So, what’s the next step? Well logging, obviously. Oh you want more info on how to do this and where to start, ok, let’s get you going on your food journal.
- Know your why, choose the goal you plan on hitting. This can be weight loss, fat loss, weight gain or maintain your current weight.
- Choose how you are going to log; write it in a note book, log in a dietary journal or track using online tools like Myfitnesspal or Fitday. I use Myfitnesspal purely because that was the one I found was easiest to use on my phone throughout the day. I used to do a physical log back when apps were terrible and I was forced to when in college… moving on.
- Track in whatever tool you have chosen EVERY DAY. I prefer to log as I go, rather than at the end of the day because I clearly have the memory and attention span of a week old pup. But if you have a good memory then track at the end of the day, I don’t care, just track your food.
- Make sure those portion sizes are accurate, this is another reason I track as I go, because I’m not going to remember the amount of something I ate in the morning when I log it at night.
- Do not forget to track any of your poor food choices. If you chose to eat cupcakes you damn well better put them into your log, this is more important than logging all the good things you ate. This will force you to find out what that cupcake was worth when it comes to logging it, then maybe next time you will plan your cupcake out better (or skip it completely).
- If you are not going to log cheat foods don’t log at all, because you are doing yourself a disservice and not giving yourself the complete picture. Just remember you will slip and that is fine, be aware of the slip, track it, review it then move on and make the adjustment.
Look a food log doesn’t need to be perfect. This thing is here to help you push your fitness and health goals to the next level so use if for what it’s worth. And the more accurate you make your food log the more data you will have to see what changes you need to make to be successful.
Start tracking your nutrition and start seeing the changes happen so much faster!
Start small by logging just a couple days per week then start boosting it up to 5 or 6 days a week.
Now you have all you need to start logging food and losing weight (or gaining it if that’s your goal). So go and try a week of logging and see how your meals changed because you were paying attention to the stuff you put into your body. If you get a chance please sign up for my weekly newsletter, Click Here to Join. You will get more great workouts, recipes, articles and other awesome fitness and nutrition info.
Thanks, and Good luck!