Hi Fearless Family!
Let’s talk about nutrition tracking – how you can do it and why you should do it.
I have been tracking my nutrition almost consistently since I was 16. I weighed 250 pounds as a sophomore in high school, and I knew I was heavier than I should be – my athletic performance mirrored that. When I first started tracking, all I wanted to do was lose a little weight, but I knew absolutely nothing about nutrition. The only thing I knew about was what I saw on the back of food products at the bottom of the nutrition facts: “2000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.” What that meant to me was that I needed to eat less than 2000 calories a day and I would lose weight. Now I had to figure out how to track those calories.
Up to this point, I honestly didn’t know how many calories I was eating so I wanted to figure that out. I read a quote that convinced me to track my food: “Anything that is tracked improves.” The article discussed the importance of tracking your food and it boiled down to a few simple concepts:
- Knowing the nutrition facts of foods will help you start to make healthier decisions,
- You will have a record of what you ate, so if a certain food makes you feel bad you can have an idea what it is,
- Anything that is tracked improves.
I saw a book online called the “Calorie Counter” that had the calories of over 700 items (including Fast Food Menus) so I bought that, got a spiral notebook from my backpack and started looking up the calories of everything I ate and wrote it down in my newfound “Food Journal.” After about a week of tracking, I was shocked to find out how much I was eating. It was well over the recommended “2000 calories” I saw on the back of the Doritos bag. It started to finally make sense why I was overweight the way I was.
Luckily, there are MUCH easier ways to track nutrition these days. There are quite a few apps available for download that can be used on your phones such as MyFitnessPal, Lose It!, MyPlate Calorie Counter, and many more. They have a very large database of foods built up that you can quickly search – including food by restaurant and brand. The best feature of these (in my opinion) is the ability to scan bar-codes to add the food to your journal for the day. Apps like this help make tracking nutrition quick and relatively simple. I highly recommend trying them out.
Tracking your nutrition is one of the best first steps to any weight goal you have – whether it be losing or gaining weight. From that point you can adjust. It is a tremendous help to know where you are if you know where you want to go.