Food tracking might seem like a tedious chore, but it’s one of the few things in fitness where just a little extra work can pay huge dividends. The following 6 reasons are why everyone should give it a try at some point in their fitness journey.
You Will Lose More Weight
Just the simple act of keeping a daily food journal can help you lose twice as much weight than you would have if you didn’t do it at all . There are many mechanisms through which this happens, but the main reason is because it makes you more aware of what you’re putting into your mouth. Many people don’t realize how much they are eating until they see it in writing right in front of them. It’s easy for a few bites of this, and a few bites of that to add up. Writing down what you eat makes you more mindful of your nutrition.
You Learn About Food
Nothing teaches you more about food and what you eat than tracking your food intake. You learn about calories, macronutrients, micronutrients, food additives, and how your body reacts to certain foods and food combinations. All of this information becomes invaluable once (or if) you do finally stop journaling.
You’ll be able to just eat and know the general nutritional breakdown of a particular food without having to look it up. You’ll be able to better keep your calories under control. You’ll be able to make better choices when you go out to eat, and you’ll experience more nutritional freedom as time goes on.
Find Hidden Problems
Journaling your food helps you uncover hidden problems. Before journaling you might have thought you were eating a healthy diet that was sufficient in calories and nutrients, but once you write down and analyze your diet, you might notice that you were eating too few calories to support healthy weight loss. You might realize you were too deficient in essential fatty acids, or that your fiber intake was way too low. Whatever the case, journaling helps you uncover areas of your nutrition that can be improved.
Revisit Your Success
One of my favorite reasons for journaling is that it gives you a successful reference point in your fitness journey that you can revisit. When times get tough, and they inevitably will, you can end the confusion and look back to what you know worked in the past. You can see exactly what you ate and the exercise you did (if you journal that too) that got you results. That’s enough piece of mind to give you the confidence to keep going about your journey.
You can see what calorie intake worked for YOU. You can see the food choices YOU made that got YOU results. You can see how often YOU can cheat and still make progress. Food journaling gives you a highly individualized blueprint for your success.
Keeps You Accountable
You’d be surprised how different your food choices are once you start writing down what you eat. Tracking food helps keep you accountable. Not only does seeing a full day of healthy eating in writing help bolster your willpower, but being forced to write down your nutritional mess ups also makes you think twice about your decisions. If journaling your food can make you just 25% less likely to eat processed food, you will make great progress.
Helps You Make Dietary Tweaks
Probably the most practical of reasons for writing down what you eat is that it makes dietary tweaking a breeze. Is your weight loss stalled? Simple, just cut 200 calories from your diet, be patient, and then reassess the results. You can’t do that very easily if you aren’t writing down what you’re eating. Need more energy for your high-intensity workouts? You will know exactly where you can fit in more carbs so that you can boost your intensity levels. Journaling will help you make precision tweaks to your diet that will help you keep your progress moving forward.