A new study in the Journal of Obesity suggests that self-monitoring the foods you consume is the most effective way to lose weight. But tracking your food for weight loss isn’t the only positive this habit brings. So what are the benefits of tracking your food?
Measuring your food intake is a crucial part of living a healthy lifestyle and can help you maintain a balanced diet and stay on top of your health goals. When you track your food, you measure the amount of calories (and nutritional value) that you put into your body.
This blog will show the benefits of using a food tracker and how this tool can help you reach those goals.
Reasons why you should track your food
- Food tracking allows you to implement a sustainable diet plan
When you don’t consistently track your food, it’s easy to forget what you eat. Did I have sirloin or New York steak for dinner? Is there a difference? Did I cut off the fat? Using a food tracking tool gives you the resources to note your consumption consistently and accurately.
- Food tracking informs you of your food’s nutrient value
It’s pointless to track calories if you are only monitoring food with no nutritional value. Your body needs macronutrients (carbs, protein, and fat) to function properly. Food trackers will allow you to log your food intake and show you exactly how many macros you need — and how many you’re actually getting. To get the macros you need, eat a rich diet of fresh produce, healthy fats, complex carbs, and protein.
- Food tracking holds you accountable
It’s easy to forget everything you’ve eaten in a day—or even a few hours ago. But everything from a piece of cake to a baby carrot should be accounted for. When you consistently log your food, it keeps you accountable, and you become much more intentional about why and when you’re eating.
- Food tracking helps you reach your goals
Humans want achievement. But achievement is hard to come by when dealing with vague ideas. Food tracking puts hard numbers down as your targets. And achieving these targets will send dopamine rushes to your brain that will make you want more.
- Food tracking allows you to eat your favorite foods in moderation
While logging food is an essential part of staying committed to a healthy diet, eating some of your favorite non-healthy foods is still ok — as long as you eat it in moderation. And don’t forget to log this food. It helps you know when you’ve had enough or when you’ve gotten off track.
- Food tracking raises awareness
Have you ever thought, “wow, I had no idea that burger was full of that many calories”? Once you start tracking your food, you become aware of the good —and bad— that you’ve been putting into your body. In addition, tracking your food provides the awareness you need to stay on top of the nasty habits you’ve tried to ignore for so long.
A few food tracking tips:
- The more consistently you track, the more likely you are to reach your goals. And the more you track, the better you’ll get at it. This will help you reap all the benefits of tracking your food.
- It’s better to track something than to altogether skip it because it’s not the exact item you’re looking for. So try not to get caught up in inexactness, and instead, just make sure you’re consistently tracking something.
- Be mindful while logging and ask yourself, why am I eating? Is my body actually hungry? Or am I looking for foods to satisfy boredom?
- If you feel like you have overindulged, be sure to write it all down. Then you can learn what foods led to this overeating. In addition, you’ll better know what your weaknesses are and how to avoid them.
What should you include in your food journal?
- Everything you eat and drink: Be as specific as possible. For the most accurate account of what you are eating, including everything from sauces and condiments to how you prepared a dish (was it baked or fried?).
- Portion sizes: Enter the amount consumed in teaspoons, tablespoons, cups, or fluid ounces for fruits, vegetables, nuts, and liquids. Use weighted ounces for protein and starch. Once you’ve measured for some time, you’ll be able to make educated guesses. For example, a palm-sized piece of chicken is approximately 3-4 oz.
- The time you are eating: Noting the time you eat can be beneficial in identifying erratic timing and potentially tricky times of the day, such as late-night snacking.
Food tracking tools:
It is important to find a tracking system that works best for you and your lifestyle.
Food journals are great ways to specify time, portions, water intake, and exercise. At Food and Fitness Pro, we provide you with a food log to help you do just that.
Other food tracking tools include:
· Lose It!
Food and Fitness Pro provides detailed health advice that produces actual results. Call today, and we’ll schedule a registered dietician to focus on your body’s demands.
1. Food tracking gives you the incentive to learn about your nutrient level.
2. Food tracking holds you accountable.
3. Food tracking provides achievable goals to push you into action.
4. Be detailed and consistent with your food tracking to get the most out of it.