TRACKING NOT OBSESSING
There is a great line between tracking foods and obsessing over them. Let’s look at the benefits of tracking your food and fluid intake:-
1 – It gives you a general guide to your calorie intake and the macronutrient breakdown. From experience personally and working with clients we all have a tendency to consume more than we tell ourselves. There are countless studies showing an increase in overall weight loss when subjects tracked versus not tracking and this is largely down to the counting of calories.
2 – You can set yourself targets to hit to aid with body composition. When ever I am going to take myself from a maintenance phase of my training into a surplus (Bulk) or deficit (cut) I set myself clear targets to achieve so I am not just “pissing in the wind” trying to get to my destined body composition. For example, I could take myself from 2500 kcals down to 2100 kcals over a few weeks adjusting depending on how I respond or vice versa go from 2100 all the way to 2900 kcals + reverse dieting into a surplus.
3 – It can help with making better choices with foods. When eating out or grabbing something on the go, having a reliable tracking app that allows you to scan barcodes and easily make a sensible choice so you do not steer away from set caloric goals.
4 – It will make you aware of your eating habits and whether they change when socialising with certain friends or family. Does the speed at which you are eating change, do you consume more or less food etc.
5 – It can highlight the things that you are doing well already. Wether that’s preparing meals, sticking to certain foods or being mindful with snacking.
With these just a handful of positive actions when it comes to dieting but have a look at this from a potentially negative view.
Obsessive behaviours can occur with numbers trying to hit to the gram of every macronutrient. This can lead to anxiety, and elevating anyone’s cortisol can have an adverse effect.
I have had messages in the past from concerned clients worrying about which meal to have on a menu which I guess as a coach is a positive behaviour to begin with. That being said I will always address any issues with food choices during the following session and put the ownership of choosing the foods themselves and playing with macronutrients over a few days to cater for any influx of calories consumed on a meal out.
My experience and recommendation has brought me to the conclusion that tracking daily is essential for those looking to achieve a competition physique or to make a weight class for an event because there is not much room for error with this type of goal whereas with those looking to drop a dress size or two or unveil your abs for a few weeks of the year on the beach then making smart choices with foods and not over indulging whilst increasing overall activity will see you achieve your goals.