Food tracking has become quite popular in the past few years as it offers a wide range of food options, which essentially makes the process of losing weight a bit simpler.
Personally I believe food tracking to be a great choice, not just because of the food range it allows, but rather all the other benefits that are afforded when you take the step to track food.
In this article, I’ll discuss 5 fascinating benefits that will come from beginning to track your food intake. You don’t want to miss this.
You’ll Indirectly Create A Plan
You’ve heard me say it before and just to reiterate its importance, I’ll mention it again. Having a solid plan of attack is easily the most important first step you can take when beginning a fitness journey or simply beginning to eat in a healthier fashion.
Fortunately, food tracking can provide you with a concrete plan, even if you aren’t directly creating one.
When you first begin tracking, you have to stop for a moment to consider what an actual appropriate calorie intake is for you, your experience, you current body composition and level of activity.
By discovering these variables, you can set forth an appropriate amount of calories as a sort of target amount that will allow you to begin moving in the right direction. Not to mention, it’s quite easy to update and re-evaluate this calorie amount, based on how you’re progressing.
By beginning your journey with food tracking, you’ll set small goals (calorie and macro amounts) daily that provide you with a plan and direction to take, which will ultimately help push you in the direction of achieving your long-term ones.
Bottom Line: Food tracking is more beneficial than simply counting calories. It’s an opportunity for you to plan and create small daily goals to achieve that will ultimately progress you towards your end goals.
You’ll Pay Closer Attention To Your Food
It probably goes without saying, but it’s so important that I’ll mention it anyway! When you begin tracking food diligently, you simply end up paying closer attention to the food you’re consuming in terms of amount and quality.
Personally, I like to consider food tracking to be on par with paying for everything in cash. With a credit card, we sort of have this disconnect between money, in terms of how much we should spend and how much we really spend.
With a card, our money is intangible and when we spend it, it simply doesn’t have the same psychological effect as watching real, physical cash leave our hands.
When you track, I think of it in the same light. When you aren’t tracking calories, it’s quite easy to justify overconsumption of calories and simply eating junk food because there’s nothing but your willpower to keep you accountable.
By tracking food, you can begin to see how different foods have different calorie amounts. Taking it a step further, you’ll begin to understand how different foods impact your hunger, relative to their calorie amounts. So, just like with cash, you can actually see the impact of your food choices.
I can’t express how many times I’ve been floored by how little serving sizes are for some of our favorite foods.
For example, one of the biggest shocks you’ll encounter is observing the serving sizes of snacks like potato chips. Whereas most of us will sit and eat chips endlessly for 5-10 minutes, it would appall you just how small servings actually are.
Before you know it, it’s not unheard of to consume upwards of 500 calories in a single sitting of just a few minutes eating potato chips.
By tracking your calories, you’ll get a better understanding of how many calories you’re actually consuming (different from your personal estimate), which can help you move in the right direction by making more informed choices or simply knowing how better to control yourself.
Bottom Line: Food tracking helps you understand serving sizes, while giving you a clear indication of the impact your food choices have on hunger and success.
You’ll Realize It’s Not Difficult To Eat Well
When you begin tracking, you have the specific benefit of being able to eat more of the foods you enjoy, since you’re basing your success around calories, rather than specific foods.
This way you can begin to realize that eating better isn’t as difficult, monotonous or frustrating as the mainstream media would have you believe.
With tracking calories, you have the opportunity to eat your favorite foods such as pizza, ice cream and chocolate; however once you begin tracking, you’ll understand the implications of doing so.
Although, within your calorie budget, it can be easy to go down the road of eating junk with calorie tracking, you will find that it does make things a bit difficult, especially if you’re trying to hit certain macronutrient amounts.
Whereas you definitely can eat junk if you want, food tracking is an opportunity to eat healthy food often, while still allowing you to indulge, guilt-free, from time to time.
Calorie tracking has the ability to let you eat more desirable foods. Further, you can make your own decision over how rigid or relaxed your diet is, since overall, total calories will be the biggest player in your success.
Bottom Line: Food tracking provides the ability to consume a wide range of foods, while still eating in terms of calorie amounts that are most appropriate for you and your objectives.
You’ll Recognize Good And Bad Eating Habits
Apart from giving you definite information regarding how many calories you’re eating, you’ll also begin to be able to make connections between the foods you’re eating and potential bad habits.
These recognitions of habits can come at any time really, but for the most part, many realizations occur when you first begin tracking.
They may be things like recognizing your favorite “health snack” is actually a calorie bomb or that after eating this type of food you end up feeling bloated or gassy. Not to mention, you can begin to associate certain foods with negative feelings or even just realize that the types of foods you’re eating don’t really help stave off hunger.
By tracking, you can begin to understand how each different food ingredient impacts your weight, your feelings and, of course, your overall progress.
Bottom Line: By tracking food and calories, you can begin to make associations with food that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to. This could be the difference between actually succeeding and simply thinking you are on the right track.
You’ll Avoid Guilt And Shame
The biggest issue with the fitness industry is that we’ve created “rules” and habits that manifest as guilt and feelings of inadequacy. Fascinating enough, food tracking can actually help you avoid feelings of guilt and despair at the hand of your food.
Many people view their eating habits in the same light as their self worth. This notion has been further perpetuated by the all-or-nothing, eat clean crowd.
When you begin to severely restrict foods, especially those you love and others are still getting to enjoy (insert just about any junk food here), it can create an environment where guilt skyrockets, if you ever indulge those temptations.
With food tracking, there is no guilt, really ever. Since, for the most part, you’re basing your progress on calories, it becomes increasingly more acceptable to consume these foods deemed less healthy, as you’re adjusting your calories accordingly.
By tracking your food, you’ll have better control over your food, while opening up a wide range of food options. Best of all, you’ll realize that there is generally no food off limits, which can completely abolish most food-related guilt.
Bottom Line: Many people feel guilty for diverging from their “acceptable foods,” but with food tracking, almost no food is off-limits, creating an environment of both enjoyment and success, while limiting feelings of guilt.
5 Fascinating Benefits Of Food Tracking
Whereas most people think food tracking is just a means of counting calories, I find it to be much more than that.
The practice of food tracking not only allows you a wider range of food options, but it also provides an environment where you can plan and begin to make real connections between your food and your progress and feelings.
Not to mention, food tracking can essentially free you from any guilt you may have been used to feeling whenever you’ve deviated in the past, simply because, when tracking, you won’t be actually deviating in the first place.