Generally, the more strict we are with things, the more progress we make. This rule definitely applies when tracking what we eat. If you are trying to lose weight, then you always want to ensure that you are burning more calories than you consume. If you are trying to build muscle, then you want to make sure that you are in a “calorie surplus” and that you are getting enough protein so your body can repair the damage caused by your workouts. Without tracking of some sort, I can assure you that you are leaving a great deal of progress on the table.
Many of us have recognized the importance of this, so why do we not practice it? Well, one big reason is time. We already have thousands of things competing for our attention, and we feel like adding one more will leave us lying on the floor in a state of paralysis (or is that just me…)? The Bible reminds us not to waste our time ( James 4:14, Ephesians 5:16-17, Colossians 4:5-6…), and we usually don’t want to anyway. So, how do we track this without adding another time-sucker to our day? Well, here are two options that could help:
- Track it once and eat the same thing every day. This one is more for the people who don’t need a lot of variety in their diet. Just decide what you need to eat to reach your goals, track it on a spreadsheet to get your calories and macros right, and just stay strict with it. If the very thought of eating the same foods every day sucks all joy from your life, then you can modify this by making a few different options for each day.
- Track your food on the fly with an app. This is just what it sounds like. Get an idea of what you like to eat that fits your goals, get a good tracking app, and hit your day. This is what I do most often because my life is very busy right now and it is just easier. I prefer to spend 20 seconds tracking something after I eat it than to spend half a day on the weekend doing food prep. Some people like the food prep option and I’m happy for them. I like it when I have more time. I use Fat Secret because it is simple, it counts your calories and macros, and it’s free. The one caution that I would give with this method is to learn from your mistakes. If your goal is 160 grams of protein and 50 grams of fat and at the end of day one those numbers are reversed, look over what you ate and re-assess. This will show you a lot of trends in your diet that you can now address.
I wanted to keep this simple, so if you want to know more about any of this then comment! Relentlessly track that food!