When someone with a desire to change their body shape sets out on a health and fitness journey, the first thing one can do to facilitate this is eat better… make healthier food choices etc. I often encourage people to initially track their food. INITIALLY, is the key word. Now, by initially I mean around 8-12 weeks or so. This will usually allow enough time for you to become familiar with particular foods and portions, but also allow enough time for life to happen. And we all know that life can throw some curve balls our way. You’ll learn how to deal with real-life situations that may affect diet choices and how to track as accurately as possible during such times. You’ll also learn the values of your food choices. How many grams of carbs, protein and fat make up what you’re eating. This is all invaluable knowledge and can absolutely go a long way to assisting your journey.
So, you get into it. You weigh and record everything diligently on one of the many food diary apps and it soon becomes apparent that this can actually be a major pain in the ass! You ask yourself, “Have I really got to do this forever?” Well, in short, no… you don’t!
Here’s why. As I mentioned above, there will come a point when the knowledge you’ve gained from tracking your food early on in the process, means you may actually be able to relax with it long term.
If I use myself as an example, I was very OCD when it came to my food diary. Now, I rarely track my food. I’ll track when I change my calories or tweak my macros, just to ensure Im where I need to be, but that’s it. And only for a week, two weeks max. Having said that, when I do track, I am extremely diligent. There’s no point half assing it!
So what do I do during the times I’m not tracking? Well, I use common sense. My diet doesn’t vary much from meal to meal. Im a creature of habit. If however, I was to consume something that may have been quite carb heavy, then I ensure that I reduce the carb amount at the next one or two meals. There may be times when I intuitively know my protein is down by a certain time of the day. What does that mean? Time to up it at the next one or include an extra protein shake somewhere through the day. This is a strategy I have been able to use after years (about 15 years) of tracking food on and off.
The good news is, you can too! ONLY, if you dedicate the time initially. Create that habit early on and you can be rewarded with a ‘relaxed’ approach down the track.