It all starts with awareness. No matter what your goal is, you can’t change what you don’t know. You need to know where you are in order to get to where you want to be.
It’s like calling someone to ask for directions to target. You need to tell them where you are first so they are able to help you. That’s how food and fitness are. Whether working with a coach or adjusting things on your own, you need to know where you are in order to get THERE (wherever there is).
This is where some sort of tracking comes in. Tracking your food is one tool in your toolbox to understanding your body. And just like all tools, you won’t use it forever but this temporary use of tracking is a huge piece of that understanding.
How many calories are you eating? How much protein have you had? Are you eating enough fiber to support gut health? Are you eating mostly real foods or is your diet full of processed foods?
Another reason tracking your food is important because serving sizes are an important piece of the puzzle. For example, take a large banana vs a small banana. They are both bananas. But one of them might have 15g of carbs and 60 calories while the large banana has 25g of carbs and 100 calories. That instance alone won’t have a huge impact on you but doing that with everything you eat, having a larger serving size with each meal and snack, that adds up to a big difference at the end of the day.
Like anything new, there is a learning curve. Learning the app (my fitness pal and cronometer are great places to start). Learning how to use a food scale. Taking the time before each meal to weigh, measure and enter. Eating pretty basic foods at first before you dive into understanding the recipe creation part of tracking. All of this can get frustrating. But think of the alternative, it’s likely being more frustrated at the lack of results and lack of understanding your body.
Tracking foods is a tool in your toolbox. It’s not forever. But is something I truly believe is worth taking the time to learn and utilize. That education and awareness it brings to food, food composition, how those food sizes and qualities impact your health, how you feel and your body- that is information that is forever. And don’t forget folks, you need to eat forever.