Why You Need to be Tracking What You Eat

Posted: January 15, 2013 by Justin M. Strawn in Encouragement
Tags: , , , , , , ,

If you are actively trying to lose weight and struggling, are you keeping tabs of everything you eat? And I don’t just mean your meals, I mean every bite of food you put in your mouth. If you aren’t doing this, you may have just discovered the reason keeping weight off is such a difficult task.

 

Most People Underestimate

If you battle weight problems, you probably don’t realize how many calories in a day you take in every day. I know I wasn’t. I thought I was pretty close to around 2,000 calories a day. After I read about the value of tracking food, I tried to remember everything I ate over the previous three days. What did I find? The three-day average of the calories I took in was 3,100! That is 1,100 calories more than what I thought I was eating. Someone once told me that the average person underestimates how much they eat by 500 – 700 calories a day.

But it’s so hard

Most people think it is hard to track their weight, but most of those same people haven’t researched it very thoroughly. In all likelihood, you have a smartphone. If you do, it has a place for you to download apps. You can find multiple FREE calorie counting apps for almost every smartphone. Many of them have extensive databases to pull from when entering your food. If you want to track, there are plenty of ways to do so.

How I track my food

There is no set way to do so, you just need to find one that is right for you. Like I said in an earlier post, you have to have motivation if you want to get in shape. I discovered that I am not going to track like I should unless I am paying for it, that’s why I use Weight Watchers. I do the online only program, not both online and meetings. I just need an effective way to track my what I eat and activity. Here is what a typical day for me looks like.

2013-01-15 10.23.51

You’ll notice that Weight Watchers doesn’t use calories, they use points. You’re point total is determined by your current weight, and you are assigned a daily point value. Everyone (at least as far as I am aware) gets an additional 49 points to use throughout the week should you exceed your Daily Point Total. If you exceed that, you can use the Activity Points you have accumulated throughout the week through exercise or other activities.

Interestingly, Weight Watcher doesn’t figure calories into your Point Total. When determining how many points something is, they ask you for Fat, Carbohydrates, Fiber, and Protein. It looks like this when you enter it from their iPhone app.

2013-01-15 10.44.51

Once you have calculated the points, you stick them in your tracker and it’s done. If you don’t know the Nutritional Information, they have a fairly large database to search. It includes many restaurants as well. If I can’t find what I am looking for, I use the My Fitness Pal app to get the information I am looking for. It is a different Calorie Tracking app, but it has a larger database off food. I used to use it, but I got bad about tracking things in it simply because if I don’t pay for it, I don’t use it.

If you still can’t find the item, try to find something similar and estimate. It’s better to track SOMETHING and be slightly off than to eat something and not track it at all. It’s better to overestimate than under, but underestimating is better than not estimating at all. Here is a shot of searching for something from Lenny’s Sub Shop.

2013-01-15 10.41.20

The list is a lot longer, but that is all that will fit on the screen. If you are looking for a really good tracking app that is free, you can’t beat this one.

Results will follow

 

If you are still in doubt, try tracking for a week. If you track everything, even bites, I’d be surprised if you don’t see some results. As a warning, it can be a shock to see just how many calories you eat everyday, but let’s be honest, if we didn’t need to be shocked, we probably wouldn’t need to lose the weight.

I hope this helps. If you have some tips as well, I’d love to hear them. Have a great day ladies and gentlemen, and may all your fitness dreams come true.

Justin

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Comments
  1. Hey Justin –

    I’m enjoying your blog. I have wondered about using Weight Watchers. I have been a bit skeptical, thinking that I could accomplish the same thing by just tracking calories. Now that you explained how they come up with the points, I can see how their approach is beneficial. Every guy I’ve talked to that has used WW has had great things to say about.

    Bobby

    • Thanks Bobby! It helps me a lot to track. The main reason I use Weight Watchers, like I said, is because if I pay for it, I will use it. Some people would do great with a free one, I’m not one of them.

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