I know it sounds tedious and time-consuming.
But tracking what you eat and drink can take away a lot of the pain associated with losing weight.
“How??” You may ask.
Well, first of all, tracking your food and beverage intake will help you understand what you’re doing right or wrong.
By simply keeping track of your intake and keeping tabs on your energy, hunger, mood, and mental clarity you will quickly be able to determine if you are eating enough protein, fat, or carbs for YOUR needs.
If you pay attention, you will start to see patterns.
When you feel good notice how much protein and fat you ate that day. Notice the type of carbohydrates you ate as well. Did you eat a high amount of sugar and starch but a low amount of fiber?
Your mood, your energy, your mental clarity, and your hunger will give you clues. You just need to be paying attention.
Once you begin to understand your macronutrient needs (protein, fat, and carbs) you will make better choices, be hungry less often, have less cravings, and eat less food!
It has also been shown that when people track their food they lose more weight (1,2).
I am a huge fan of data tracking for this very purpose. Using a good dietary app like Cronometer is one way to do this type of tracking, improve your eating habits, and find trends over time.
Here are a few tips for good tracking:
- Use the format that is easiest for you. If you prefer pen and paper, go for it. I like the app noted above but I encourage you to do something that you will actually DO.
- Write down or record what you eat and drink as soon as possible after you are done.
- Be specific: note the amounts and don’t forget to include things like extra sugar or fats.
- Don’t forget alcohol!
- Don’t get too caught up in measuring and weighing. Of course, if you are using an app the more accurate your input is the more info you will have about your nutrition intake. But don’t get obsessed about making it perfect.
And finally I have to note that the clients I work with that enter most consistently tend to have the highest rates of weight loss success.
In all of my programs I encourage diet and activity tracking because it is such a powerful and useful tool!
If you are struggling with the weight loss process I invite you to join me on a complimentary strategy call. We will talk about your goals, your struggles, and what your next best steps should be.
1. Gokee-Larose J, Gorin AA, Wing RR. Behavioral self-regulation for weight loss in young adults: a randomized controlled trial. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2009 Feb 16;6:10. doi: 10.1186/1479-5868-6-10. PMID: 19220909; PMCID: PMC2652418.
2. Hollis JF, Gullion CM, Stevens VJ, et al. Weight loss during the intensive intervention phase of the weight-loss maintenance trial. Am J Prev Med. 2008;35(2):118-126. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2008.04.013