You track your finances, but not your nutrition?
How come we find it ok to track our finances, but we won’t track our nutrition?
For some of us, the notion of tracking what we eat has been demonised due to the fact that we may encounter an “unhealthy obsession” with food.
For others, it just seems too hard and time consuming.
Whilst I’m not naive that unhealthy obsessions can happen to some people, it’s a little far fetched to say that everyone will become obsessive about the numbers.
Like anything in life, it’s the individual’s responsibility to take control and to use the data how they see fit.
If we ran with that same concept across other domains , shall we start blinding ourselves of how much money we have in our banks, how much petrol is left in our tanks and how hot the temperature will be today?
After all, they’re all just objective measures of a given domain.
“What gets measured, gets managed”.
“I already eat healthy though, why would I need to track?”
The thing is, food tracking isn’t just about fat loss. Given that food is literally our life source, everything we put in our body is either enhancing our life, or killing us slowly. (Sombre, but true)
A lot of us think that we eat pretty healthy and only cheat once in a while, however, if we actually tracked everything that we put into our mouths on a daily basis, we might change our tune.
Documenting what you eat and drink at every meal will give you a much better look into your true eating habits and not just what you perceive you eat. This can be a very beneficial process.
It usually goes one of two ways:
“My current eating habits are pretty much on par with what my assumptions were.”
“I always thought of myself as making decent food choices, but after looking at it for 14 days, I definitely have room for improvement.”
While these two scenarios don’t encompass everyone, they are the most common conclusions we see from our clients.
In situation #1, this process helped you focus on exactly what you were eating and when. It gave you more concrete data than just, “Yeah I think I eat pretty well”, which means you can continue to make better choices.
In situation #2, this process might have opened your eyes to your true eating habits. Maybe before this, you thought you only ate dessert once in a great while, when in reality you have two or three desserts per week! Now, this might be an extreme example but you never quite know what you are going to find out until you actually track something.
We commend using My Fitness Pal and fill in relevant numbers on the “goals” page.
PRO TIP: Set a reminder on your phone every day so you don’t forget to log your food.
Tracking food choices holds you more accountable. If you know that you are going to have to write down and document everything that you put in your mouth, do you think you might think twice about eating that bit of chocolate?
This accountability will help keep you on track with your food choices, especially in the beginning.
Accountability will also lead to better results! A 2008 study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine showed that keeping a ‘food diary’ may double your weight loss efforts.
This was based on a group of over 1,600 people. Those who tracked their food choices lost almost 5 more kg following the same advice than the control group.
Tracking helps you notice trends in your eating. We bet you know some people who claim to be very healthy eaters but will cheat on occasion. ‘Cheating’ is fine on occasion, but when it is every other day, that is considered a normal trend and not a once-in-a-while cheat.
By documenting your choices, it makes it easier for you to find these trends. If you think you only have a soda every now and then, look back over your food log and prove it.
A lot of people will start to realise that they make poor choices more often than they realise. Documenting it is the first step you have to take before being able to correct it.
FIGURE OUT ISSUES
Figure out what foods or combinations are causing you issues. Now, this is getting into a more in-depth analysis of your food choices. Most people seem to do much better just looking at trends and being more accountable by documenting food choices. If this is not enough for you, start looking at the different combinations at each meal.
Are you someone who eats a large number of carbs for a meal or snack, without any protein or vegetables?
This could be affecting your blood sugar.
What other activities are you doing while eating?
This could be disrupting your hormones and causing digestion to not be ideal.
Are there any combinations of foods that do not make you feel great after eating? Or are there any foods that continuously give you issues?
By documenting your food intake, you can start to see patterns. While eggs can be a great, healthy choice for breakfast, some people might not tolerate them as well as others. By accurately recording your food and looking back, it will make these situations much more obvious.
‘If you ink it, you’ll think it. If you don’t, you won’t.’
TIPS TO CONSIDER WHEN TRACKING
Tracking your food choices can help with accountability.
Proper tracking can lead to discoveries you might have missed otherwise.
Pay attention to combinations and how you feel after certain foods.
Director and Head Coach