We live in an age where everyone searches, wants, and begs for it.
What is it?
The answer to low energy levels and nagging inflammation and bloating.
The key to finally looking in the mirror and feeling confident in the person looking back at him or her.
Nearly everyone is looking for the secret to fat loss.
Do I have it?
But don’t let that keep you from reading further!
I wish I was writing this blog to tell you I did, but the reality is that there is SO MUCH that goes into fat loss that there isn’t ONE THING that guarantees fat loss for everyone.
But there is one thing that everyone hoping to lose fat and change their body composition needs to make a part of their routine.
That thing is tracking or food logging.
You know the saying, “It’s 10% what you do in the gym, and 90% what you do in the kitchen.”
Or whatever numbers you may have heard before.
The truth is that 100% of what you do in the kitchen determines your fat loss and body composition results because you cannot outrun or outwork a poor diet.
As a nutrition coach, I ask all of my clients to track food because it’s THAT important.
For most, it’s completely new to him or her, so there are ALWAYS follow-up questions.
Because of that, I wanted to give those of you who are on the fence about tracking a little deeper insight, a better understanding, and a look as to how you can make this fit into your lifestyle.
Here are the most frequently asked questions about tracking, and my answers to hopefully help you develop a little clarity on tracking.
What’s the point in tracking? What do I get out of it?
Tracking your food doesn’t guarantee you fat loss, but there is so much you can get out of it.
There are two major insights you get from tracking.
It brings awareness to your eating habits by helping you to realize how much you are eating and your food tendencies.
It allows you to see things like:
- Your whole foods to processed foods ratio
- Your weeks, days, or meals of weakness
- Macronutrient and micronutrient consumption
Tracking teaches you the ins and outs of the foods you’re eating.
You grow to learn the calorie and macronutrient breakdown of food, which can really benefit you as you eat untracked meals.
Beyond numbers, it educates you on your body’s response to specific foods.
If I NEVER tracked my food, I would have never found that brown rice and oats are so hard on my gut.
There is so much awareness and education that comes from tracking, as the beginning is quite the eye opener.
I have yet to meet a client, regardless the fat loss results, who has said tracking taught him or her nothing.
It may not guarantee fat loss, but I do guarantee that it will teach you something.
Do I really have to do it forever?
A good coach’s favorite answer.
It depends on what your ultimate goal is.
Are you looking to compete or perform in a sport?
Do you plan to compete using your aesthetics, like bodybuilding or figure competitions?
Do you have very specific health goals?
These may all be scenarios where you are tracking for the majority of the year.
Typically, for most fat loss clients, it is advised to diligently track until you have reached your goal weight, been brought back to maintenance calories, and we have worked together on building the skills for intuitive eating.
Now, there are plenty of people who reach their goal and are living at maintenance calories, but still prefer to consistently track for accountability purposes. These individuals still have untracked meals and days throughout the year because we work together to find ways track without interfering with everyday life.
What’s the best way to track?
I hate to give the same answer, but the reality is that it really does depend on what
works for you.
Here are 3 ways my clients track food:
- Your phone is always with you
- Synced with a variety of platforms to easily add specific meals and foods
- It’s easy to get distracted while on your phone
- Might require some tech-savvy skills
- No tech skills required
- Lose, wreck, or spill on your written copy
- Real visual of portion sizes
- Forget to take pictures
- Miss the little details or snacks
Tracking has been given a bad rap, as it has grown to be thought of as something that can only be done on confusing phone apps.
Tracking doesn’t have to be done on confusing phone apps because there are alternatives.
If you’re dead set on using an app, but aren’t super tech-savvy, then click HERE and I’ll send you a walk-through explanation video.
The point is to make tracking fit to your lifestyle, so play around and choose the method most suitable for you!
What’s the easiest way to start?
Assuming you’ve picked the method that works best for you, now it’s time to determine where or what to actually track first.
Some will say to just jump right in and track everything that goes in your mouth, but if this is a foreign concept to you, then I encourage you to start even smaller.
Pick one meal and commit to tracking it everyday for one week.
Then, if you think you’re ready to handle tracking every meal, great, go for it! But if you think you still need to take it slower, gradually add in another meal each week until you’re successfully tracking every meal.
Besides which meals to start tracking, there’s also the question as to WHAT it is you will be tracking – calories, macronutrients, or micronutrients?
Well, because calories are most important, that’s where we’re going to start.
Track the total number of calories of each meal.
Then, start tracking protein.
Just as with your means for tracking, it’s about what works for you and your lifestyle, so start small and gradually work to add these into your daily habits and routines.
Why do I have to weigh or measure?
You know the saying, “eyes too big for my stomach?”
That is a major sign as to why weighing or measuring is important.
When it comes to food, our eyes are terrible judges of size.
Take a look at these two examples.
Sure, the picture may not look like THAT big of a deal, but in reality, it’s nearly two times the portion size.
That means nearly two times the calories!
If you eyeball every ingredient in a day, that could mean nearly two times the calories.
That could be the difference in losing or gaining weight!
Eyeballing is a big deal!
Measuring is like tracking.
Until you reach your goal weight or body composition, it’s pretty important to stay true to measuring; therefore, once you transition into intuitive eating, you know what 1 cup of rice or 4 ounces of chicken actually looks like.
Think of it as sharpening your vision for when you eat out, so while it may seem like work now, you’re just improving your ability to estimate in the future.
Now, no mater where you’re at in your journey, screenshot this Eyeball Guide to keep with you for when you are out to eat and unable to measure. Unlike measuring cups, your hands always go with you, so you always have at least one tool for measuring!
Tracking Takes So Much Time, How Do I Make It Go Faster?
Think about when you learned to ride a bike.
You didn’t get it right away, right?
No, you had to spend time learning how!
Same goes for tracking.
I’d be lying if I said you will just zip through it off the bat because it does take time, but if you put the time in and work past the ‘newness,’ it gets easier and you see results!
Here are my keys to make tracking go faster early on:
- Add your recipes as you cook – my rule when cooking is that an ingredient doesn’t get added to a dish or pan without being added into the recipe. That way, when you’re finished you save the recipe, and not only have it for the rest of the week, but for every future time you prepare it!
- Identify your key foods – know which foods you add often, if you’re using an app, they will save at the top of the list, so you’re able to easily add each day. If you’re handwriting your meals, keep a list of your go-to foods, so you’re able to look back and easily add to your list.
- Pick one time of day to add all your food – whether it be the night before, the morning of, or an evening of reflection, pick one time and add everything to your daily log.
Even utilizing these tips will take some time in the beginning, so be patient with yourself as you work to add this new skill and eventually your daily log will be completed in no time!
What do I do when I go out to eat or can’t perfectly track my meals?
Nothing about health and tracking is meant to be perfect; it is entirely about
consistently doing your best.
I tell all of my clients with fat loss goals that the goal is to eat 90 percent clean 100 percent of the time, which leaves 10 percent for meals out, social events, and your favorite foods.
Let’s break that down into your day-to-day life.
If you eat 5 meals per day all 7 days of the week, you’re eating 35 meals in one week. In the 90 percent rule, that means 31 or 32 meals should be clean, which leaves 3 to 4 meals for social gatherings.
I encourage you to take a look at your week, and purposefully identify 3 to 4 “less than perfect” meals. Do your best throughout the week, and each time one of those meals comes up on your calendar, don’t stress and know that you have some flexibility.
If you want to know more about the specifics of eating out, shoot me a message, and I’ll help you break down your next social gathering!
I get bored eating the same foods over and over, how do I get more variety?
Too often, people believe that tracking means food gets boring.
That’s not true!
Tracking just means you keep track of the creativity to your recipes and make modifications to bring you closer to your goals!
Take a few minutes to add your favorite recipes. Then each week add the recipes you’re planning for the week, and modify to fit your plan for the week.
Now, if you struggle with meal prep creativity, then head on over to and read about tips to free yourself of food boredom in ‘Are You Ready to be a Meal Prep Master?’
I’ve Been Tracking Calories for a While, How Do I Set Up My Macros?
If you’re ready to move into macro tracking, CONGRATULATIONS! That’s a huge step, and can really enhance your results.
I have three recommendations for you:
- Check out my Meal Prep for Fat Loss Video Series, specifically Episode 1. In this video, I run through how to set up your calories and macros to help you meal prep for success each week! Click HERE to head to that link!
- Take a quick read of my FREE book ‘Dieting With Wine.’ I break everything down with a bit more detail than the Meal Prep for Fat Loss Video Series. The equations are right in front of you, and you’ll be set up with your macros before you know it! Grab your copy of ‘Dieting With Wine.’
- Sign up for a FREE coaching call. Let’s talk it over. The best way to set you up is to know what you’re already doing, so click here to set up a call that sets you up for success.