Is tracking your food good/bad?
A balanced diet makes up for a managed diet!
Have you ever maintained a diary to record your day’s happenings? If yes, then you know how it helps you contemplate your actions, reflect on your life, and make improvements. Isn’t it? It is like tracking every second, every moment while making the most of your life. Same goes for maintaining a diet plan! When you have a weight loss goal to achieve, tracking what goes into the system could be the best decision ever. Real improvements start when you get aware of your shortcomings and mistakes.
Be it tracking your progress and feeling happy about it, or recording the unhealthy food you had at a friend’s party; having a track record is ever beneficial. In case, you think tracking is impossible and impractical, think again! If you are serious about your weight loss efforts, you ought not to make any excuses. Because every small effort counts in order to make for a win-win situation.
How Tracking Your Food Helps You Lose Weight?
Staying on the track without going astray is the first rule of manoeuvring through a weight loss journey. As it is said, “The slow and the steady win the race”. While moving ahead, keeping a record of how far you have come and what all you ate is another great habit. Here is how it will help you achieve your weight loss goals.
It is a psychological fact that when people are conscious about what they are eating, they tend to eat less. The tracking and recordings act as a reminder that you have to maintain a balanced diet in order to reach your goals. You need to be your own hero and go on the self-tracking mode to maintain a manuscript of what you eat and your corresponding weight.
Was there a time when you used to eat almost anything and everything? And, now that you have started with the tracking, did you notice how your eating malfunctions have been improved? This is how you move one step forward by giving up on binge-eating altogether.
Being aware is always in fashion! Tracking your diet on a regular basis helps you understand how far you are from reaching your fitness goals. Imagine you having junk for the day and then having it record and noticing later that you gained a pound. It would be heart-breaking, right? That is the time you would increase your exercising intensity to make up for the lost efforts.
Or, imagine yourself losing a pound and feeling excited about it. What would you do then? Again, you would be high on enthusiasm and would increase your exercising intensity. Either way, you’ll be indulging in the exercising session and thus speeding up the weight loss efforts.
In this era, everyone wants instant results! In the quest to lose weight, people lose patience at times. It makes them go back to their old ways; in turn, sabotaging their weight loss efforts. But, when you stick to tracking your diet on a daily basis, things take a turn for the good!
When you know that you have been eating healthy and have been doing enough to compensate for the cheat days, you stay motivated. You know that weight loss is not far behind and you aren’t wasting your time behind anything that is futile.
When you have a pre-planned weight number to achieve, you know how to go about reaching it. Everything would be easier from the very start when you know how many fewer calories to take. If you move ahead by managing everything in the head, things might go hay wired.
This is why self-tracking from the very scratch is ever recommended. With tracking, you would be able to manage your daily calories on one hand, and making up for excess calories you had for the cheat day. By achieving the day-wise goal, you would know that tomorrow you’ll be much closer to your intended target.
Tracking makes you compete with the person you were yesterday! Recording your progress and seeing yourself change and grow calls for a pleasure that words cannot define. In turn, every day seems a new challenge and a new day to do better towards up-keeping your progress.
Tracking is like an authentication that you are on the track and nearing your destined goal. Also, you can set a goal for each day as to how many calories to take and for how much time to exercise. By doing so, you make it a game and treat it as a level you have to clear. Isn’t it all fun?
If you have no record of how you are spending your income it leads to budget havoc. Same goes the case for your diet! When you are eating well on a particular day and eating unhealthy the other day; you are not doing yourself a favour.
If you have a wedding to attend or you have a birthday bash to go to, you do not have to give it a miss. You can munch on the extra calories for the day while recording it and making up for the difference in the coming time.
Tracking your diet and keeping a check on what you eat and at what time, make your life a disciplined one with no compromise on your overall health. You could decide when to eat your meals. If you have a memo that says that you need to have breakfast by nine, you prefer sticking to it.
Also, you would know the calories and the sugar ingredients limit that you need to stick to. You would love your new disciplined life to the extent that you’ll hate cheating on your diet. The best part comes when you know that you have a larger meal in the day ahead, and you automatically lower down your calories intake for the other part of the day.
There are quite common circumstances when you end up munching on the excess calories. While you may have carelessly had all that unhealthy food, you forget how it sabotages your weight loss efforts. But, the regret is evident to creep in later when it is already too late. You might feel sorry for yourself or may even retort to overeating.
Tracking your food is the one-stop solution to your problems. Firstly, it keeps you from ditching your healthy diet. And, secondly, it helps you know how much you overate so that you can make up for the loss. This way, you would feel no regret as you get ensured that you are still on your path.
Accept it; you are a human and it is common to you giving up to your desires! When a fitness enthusiast follows a stringent diet plan, they tend to get bored with the repetitive food cycles, and as a result, end up eating their favorite calorie-laden food. It is likely to harm your weight loss goals in ways that you might not know.
On the other hand, having a track of what you ate can assist in making a balance. You can carelessly enjoy your cheat food, without making much difference to your diet plans. In simple words, you will still be able to maintain a calorie deficit by compensating for what extra you had.
- How Far Are You from Achieving Your Goal
What a great feeling it is to see you progressing towards your weight loss goal! When you track your regular diet and your weight, you get an idea of how far along the way you have got, and that my friend is a feeling that words cannot express. Seeing yourself one-step forward by each passing day, in turn, keeps you motivated and going.
Tracking also helps in estimating a timeline of events. For example, you would know where you are and where you should be at a particular point in time. If you are falling behind the schedule, you could exercise more, and in case you are ahead of the schedule; that is already a reason to rejoice.
- Understand Your Body and Its Requirements
No individual is created equal! Everybody has a different system and their respective food requirements vary. If you are tracking your food, keep a keen eye on how your body responds to it. In clear words, knowing for much time does your lunch meal keep you full or after what interval you start feeling hungry again; can prove to be helpful.
This kind of data further helps you adjust your diets according to your needs and comfort. The idea is to take the full advantage of your body’s abilities and keep your hunger satisfied along with maintaining a healthy planned calorie intake. That is, killing two birds with one stone!
How To Track Your Eating Patterns?
Have you heard of a thing called “database management”? It is a term in computers that refers to saving the user-centric data that can be utilized to derive user behaviour and their corresponding information. The same idea lies behind tracking your eating behaviours. When you record what you eat and at what time you eat it, it acts as a data repository. And, this data can further help in planning your diets ahead based on what works for you.
Here is how you can track your food:
- Food Tracking Apps: Your phone is one device that you carry with you all the time. Whether you have an iPhone or an Android device; you can easily find a bunch of useful food tracking apps on the Apple store and the Play store, respectively. You could try apps like Myfitness Pal. This is the easiest food tracking apps for any weight loss enthusiast.
- A Food Diary: Though it is a traditional way to keep records, it is still an effective one. Maintain a food journal and pen down your daily intake into it without missing a day. Your “dear diary,” will upkeep your diet secrets and will help you achieve the bigger goal, i.e., shedding those extra fats.
- Your Phone/Tablet/Notebooks: If you have any of the handheld devices that you carry along all the time, tracking your food becomes easy. You could prefer maintaining an excel sheet or enter all the information on the notepad memos. It is a good practice to mail a copy to you or you could also upload the data to the cloud. It is the best way to ensure that your data is safe and available on the go.
How To Take Advantage Of Self-Tracking?
Yes, self-tracking your food is the best way to stick to a healthy lifestyle. Until and unless the numbers do not come back to haunt you; you will not change. When you start with the tracking, you should also put efforts to keep you motivated. How is that possible? It just takes three steps.
- Goal Setting: You should be determined to record every piece of information of what you ate and at what time you ate it while tracking your food. Start today, and make it a habit to track your diet. You could either record the data after your every meal or before you go to bed. But, the point is that you never miss to note down what you chose to eat.
- Share Your Outputs: There is always a better chance of you achieving your goals when you share your journey with someone. You could find a fitness buddy who is making efforts to achieve the same goals as you are. Share what you had for the day, and in case you feel guilty for that extra scoop of ice cream, share that too. Your buddy can help you stay motivated throughout.
- Look through the Progress: If you feel that you had a fulfilling day, look back over the data that you recorded. See what different you ate for the day, and continue doing it for the days to come. In the end, you will be all proud of yourself for making it so far.
Problems With Food Tracking
Almost everything has a good and a bad side associated with it. While food tracking has many positives, some anomalies have been reported too. What can they possibly be? Here’s a brief into the same.
- Diet Obsession: Some people out there get too involved in the idea of following a diet, that they start revolving their entire life around it. Yes, maintaining a healthy diet is ok, but punishing yourself for not being able to eat healthily is not ok.
- Happy Starvations: It has been seen that some people track their calories and in case they overtook it the previous day, they stay hungry for the next. This is their way of compensating for the extra calories, but what they fail to realize that they are sabotaging their weight loss, in turn.
- Eating The Extras: Then there may be a case that you use a tracking app that estimates the number of calories to have in a day. This is when you tend to have extra just to reach the mentioned limits even when you are not hungry, and, that is, another drawback of tracking your food.
- Vulnerability to Anorexia: When you are too indulged in tracking your diet, you may get struck by anorexia, i.e., an eating disorder that leads to an abnormally low weight. People suffering from anorexia are found to be highly obsessed with controlling their weight and lifestyle. And, the strange fact is that people are not even aware of how they are ruining their body until it’s too late.
- You Might End Up Alone: Tracking is good, but when you can’t afford to lose the good progress, you end up losing friends. Imagine your friends planned a get-together, and you get excited when you listen about the plan. But, as soon as you realize that you need to follow a diet plan, you rather make an excuse. Result; you lose on the precious moments in life.
Being aware of how tracking food is good/bad for you can help choose a smarter way to handle your data. Neither skipping on food tracking is good, nor over obsessing about it. The right way is to maintain a balance! Track your food, but do not revolve your life around this data. You have one life, enjoy it to the fullest, i.e., you have every right to enjoy your favourite food and having a gala time with your friends.
Track your food and prevent yourself from getting side-tracked from your goal to success.