This is such an important step in your weight loss journey but hardly anyone talks about this or gives you a guide on how to do. In this post I will show you why its not only essential this step is done but also how to do it to maximise results. Let’s get started.
Why do I need to track everything I consume for the first week?
To understand how our diet is negatively affecting us we need to track what we currently consume. By tracking this data we not only see the amount and types of food we eat but also which areas we can optimise first to give us a better start on our weight loss journey.
Another point here is that you could be on a diet plan currently but the weight is not coming off as you hoped. By tracking what you consume you could also see if you are secret eating. Tracking helps shine a light on our eating patterns and by seeing the issue more clearly you can make better decisions going forward.
To start you will need a way to log what you consume. This can be a food tracker app like Myfitnesspal, Samsung Health or Lifesum. These apps are more helpful as they are digital but also they have a wide variety of food in thier systems so you can see the macros of the foods you track and the calories too. You can also use a notepad and pen. If you are going to use notepad and pen then ensure you track the calories of the food as well.
Lets start tracking
Once you have chosen your method to track your food you now need to log everything you consume for the next week. If you can do it for two weeks then even better as it gives you more data to work with. This also includes any liquid calories you consume so things like coke, wine, beer etc. And to give you the best overview of what you consume you must make sure to record everything you consume. If you only log breakfast, lunch and dinner but no snacks or liquid calories then once you finish tracking you will not have a complete picture of how you are eating.
In the first week or two of your journey when you are tracking what you eat remember to eat exactly how you was before you started tracking. Because by having the complete picture we can then make targeted improvements piece by piece to get your weight loss journey off to a great start.
Once you have your food log from the past week or two then you can start looking through that list and seeing the patterns that are causing you to maintain or increase your unhealthy weight and lifestyle. For example you could be overeating on calories e.g. your maintenance is 1900 calories but daily you consume 2800. Or you may see patterns like more unhealthy food at stressful times of the day like before/after work etc.
By knowing when we overeat we can then start to make changes in the places that will have the biggest impact. For example if you find you are secret eating at work due to the food being left out then you can make adjustments at work so that the food is not a distraction to you and eliminate the additional calories that the work food is causing you.
Another reason why its good to track how and what you eat is because there are different diets for different lifestyles e.g. someone with a busy schedule may benefit from intermittent fasting or someone who plans to build muscle will benefit from a diet higher in protein. But you can only help find what diet may work for you if you have tracked what and how you eat for a week or two.
Also once you have the data of what you consumed over the past 2 weeks it’s far easier to make little changes. For example you can work on making each meal more healthy one at a time and over time you keep making changes and eventually you have a much healthier meal plan. Ideally you don’t want to go all in on a new diet on day 1 because it s recipe for disaster due to how big and sudden of a change it is. Keep it small and simple and be consistent.
How do you feel about tracking your food? When I first started I didn’t track my food I was like everyone else and dived straight into the first diet I saw online. This not only held me back but the first diet I started didn’t help me change my behaviours. Let me know your thoughts on tracking what you eat in the comments below.