How many times have you said, “I am going to lose weight”. So you instantly try to avoid the “bad” food and focus on eating the “good” food. Every once in a while you may cave in and have a desert or some chips… and maybe you go a bit overboard. For the most part, you are sticking to your clean eating routine BUT you still cannot seem to lose the weight. Does this scenario sound familiar to you?
Many people set out on a goal to lose weight by incorporating healthier diet choices and physical activity. When beginning to do this, I always recommend tracking food and calories. Now go with me on this one — this will only last for a few days…you will not be logging your food for the rest of your life (unless you want to). You are only going to log your food for a few days in order to make some initial assessments about your eating habits.
Tracking Food and Calories Can Be Simple Or Complex
When tracking food and calories, this can be as simple as keeping a food journal in a plain notebook or you can go more in depth by also logging your macronutrient intake. There are several fitness apps that you can use on your computer or download on to your smart phone. These apps will allow you to enter the quantities of food and it will give you calorie and macronutrient break down for you daily. These apps allow you to compare your stats and even make notes to yourself about how you feel. You can also log your current weight and measurements if you would like. Another feature about the fitness apps is that they can be used anonymously or you can become part of a community and interact with others who are also trying to get fit.
You Will Probably Be Shocked
After logging everything you put in your mouth for a few days, you will probably be shocked at how much food you are actually eating. Even if you are eating “healthy” food, if you are taking in too many calories for your body then you will end up with weight gain. For some the opposite may be true and you may find that you are not taking in the proper amount of calories for you to sustain you weight and add lean muscle mass.
4 Reasons You Should Log Your Food Intake
1. Holds you accountable.
When beginning tracking food and calories, you will realize that you are more conscious and aware of the items you are consuming. You may think twice before chowing down on the candy bar that has half of your daily dose of carbohydrates and tons of sugar in it. When you have to write down what you eat, there is another step involved in the thinking process and it will slow you down and make you re-think if you actually “need” to eat it or is it just a “want”.
2. You can visibly see how much you consume daily.
Far too often, I hear the “I don’t eat ANYTHING and I cannot lose weight” cries. Just because the individual is not having massive meals does not mean they may not be snacking to their hearts content. While it is good to “graze” throughout the day, it must definitely be done in moderation. Nuts, trail mix and a few bites here and there can add up quick. By tracking EVERYTHING you consume, you may begin to realize that you are eating too much or at times not eating enough for your body to promote fat loss Rather than dropping fat, your body will hold on to as much fat as possible since it is not getting properly nourished.
3. You can visibly see what items need/can be eliminated from your diet.
Sometimes we forget about the extra slice of pizza or bag of chips from the vending machine. By keeping a food log you can see that there may be some obvious items you should eliminate. At the time of eating, you may not think you are making an unhealthy choice, but when looking back at your food intake log, you may begin to see a trend.
4. You may begin to notice eating habits and trends.
Ever notice that you are able to stay on track with your eating and then all of a sudden you feel like you can devour everything in sight? This may be at a specific time of day or you may have other external triggers that “set you off” (stress at work or anxiety about paying bills).Others may be night time nibblers who lose control in the night hours after a long and stressful day. By keeping track of the times and amounts you eat, you may be able to notice that you have a specific trend or time of day that you tend to sabotage your clean eating. You may also find that there are periods of time that you go too long without eating. Noticing the trend and finding out what the trigger may be is a great way to find out how to make a change in your typical habits.
Click here to download a free food journal so that you can begin tracking food and calories for the next few days. Make sure you are still getting in your daily dose of physical activity. If you are short on time, try this Lower Body at Home Workout. If you have not already, click the image below and get in the best shape of your life with the Celsius Challenge!