Tracking Your Food: Why You Should Do It

Tracking your food may well be the single most important thing you can do if you’re trying to lose weight. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.

Yes, I went there.

The truth is, though, if you’re trying to lose weight–or anything else with weight, really–you need to know how many calories and how much fat, carbs, and protein as well.

I’ve had people tell me I’m wrong, that you don’t really need to do that, that I don’t know what I’m talking about. It seems the almost 60 pounds I’ve lost thus far don’t really count as experience.

But I’m not the only person saying this, either.


Kind of funny how often what they’r repeating the same stuff I say on a regular basis, isn’t it?

What the video doesn’t show

Something not talked about in the video, however, is the behavioral changes I often see with folks when they start tracking their food.

You see, when we measure something, we can’t hide the reality from ourselves. We can’t pretend that the pizza we’re eating isn’t so bad if we’re smacked in the face with the truth.

As a result, people who are tracking their food intake start adjusting that food intake. They want to look at those food diaries with pride. They start eating more chicken and fish. They eat a lot more vegetables. They start reducing starchy foods that are calorically dense. They start doing all kinds of things to make their lives healthier.

No one is making them do it, though. They just start wanting to do it.

At least, that’s been my experience.

Is that true for everyone?

No.

The truth is, tracking your food won’t work for everyone, but it’s not because tracking your food is inherently wrong. There are many potential reasons why something like food tracking might fail.

One is that while you track your food, you fail to measure it to get a good understanding of how much. They misidentify three cups rice as two. They think they’re eating four ounces of chicken instead of eight. Things like that.

When you don’t know what you’re eating, you can’t really track anything accurately.

Another kind of person food tracking won’t help are those who just don’t care. They’ll eat what they want to eat and not really worry too much. Most of those people aren’t really going to track, to be fair, but sometimes they will.

Often, they’re people who are trusting that tracking alone will make them shift their behavior, as I mentioned before. The problem is, they’re just going through the motions of tracking their food. They don’t actually care about what they’re eating.

Those seem to be in the minority.

So there you go. The one sure thing you can do to improve your chances to lose weight.

Author: Tom

Tom is a husband, father, novelist, opinion writer, and former Navy Corpsman currently living in Georgia. He's also someone who has lost almost 60 pounds in a safe, sustainable way, so he knows what he's talking about.

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