Diet culture has given food tracking a bad rap. It’s led us to believe that we only meticulously track our food to ensure we’re starving ourselves. We become obsessive. Hunger means you’re doing it right. Calories remaining means you’re one step closer to achieving your dream body. And exercising more means more calories burned that we can eat back.
But tracking your food THE RIGHT WAY is educational, not restrictive.
In fact, it is ONE OF THE MOST USEFUL TOOLS for nailing your nutrition to achieve a particular health and fitness goal. It can help you to transform your body composition, give you more freedom within your diet, and discover how food affects your body.
Food Composition Transforms Body Composition
“I didn’t know protein was in so many things!”
“Bananas are carbs?”
“I didn’t realize how little protein I was eating!”
“I am definitely not eating enough!”
These are actual phrases clients have expressed to me once they began tracking their food intake.
Food tracking fosters food education.
Do you read every single nutrient on every single nutrition label for every food you eat? Probably not. I don’t. But I will look at the nutrition facts on MyFitnessPal once I enter my food for the day to see where I’m lacking nutritionally. And my clients do too when they have a goal in mind.
Additionally, traditional food tracking emphasized calorie counting, as if all calories are equal. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
If you want to lose weight, simply eat less. But if you want to lose body fat and gain muscle, eat more protein. If you want to be healthier, eat more fiber. If you want to improve hormone health, eat more healthy fats. If you are insulin resistant, eat carbohydrates with proteins and fats.
Nutrients play a major role in fat loss and overall health. That’s why we track macro AND micro nutrients, including protein, fat, carbohydrates, fiber, sugar, sodium, etc. Together, we determine the right ratios of these nutrients for YOUR body to help you feel your best on a regular basis.
Food Freedom with Food Tracking
Of course, a diet that consists entirely of whole foods is the best diet. But, that’s not real life.
With the 80/20 lifestyle, you can decide what fun foods you’d like to incorporate for that 20%. Food tracking helps you to do that without going overboard into a binge. So instead of fully restricting yourself from every processed food that brings you joy, minimizing it to that 20% (or less) helps to satisfy a craving while ensuring you’re on the right path to achieving your goals.
And within that 80%, you still have the freedom to pick and choose the food YOU want to eat, as long as you’re prioritizing whole foods and are satisfying your nutrition goals.
Have you ever gotten sick after eating something, but you weren’t sure what it was that made you sick?
By cataloging the foods you eat regularly and by making notes of your symptoms, you can diagnose food intolerances on your own.
If you’re eating something that’s bothering you, you need to take control of your diet.
Tracking your food can mean taking extreme ownership of your body and your health. You are responsible for the way you feel. You owe it to yourself to fuel your body properly.
Remember, tracking your food does not need to be something you do for forever! It is simply part of the education process. And the more you know, the better the food choices you’ll be able to make!