Food Diaries & Tracking
Nutrition plays a significant part of health and fitness whether your goals are fat loss, weight gain or performance. Which means it would be a great idea to educate yourself (or receive education) on all the different food groups. So now I know my basic food groups, how do I incorporate that into my goals?
Depending on the goals you choose to accomplish, you’re going to need to adjust your nutrition accordingly. One of the early steps in doing so would be starting a food diary/record and tracking your changes and progress. Keeping a food diary has many benefits, from encouraging weight loss to improving nutrition to pinpointing food intolerances. A food diary can also help you recognise emotional issues dooming your fat loss efforts.
A food diary will allow you to spot at a glance any shortchanged food groups that could be potentially depriving you of important nutrients. For example, if your entire day’s food record includes only one fruit and vegetable, you’ll see that you’re far from reaching the recommended nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day. You may also notice that you’re eating more processed foods and fast foods than healthy, nutrient-dense foods. Keeping a food journal can help you plan balanced meals comprised of all the food groups, thereby improving your nutritional status. It can also be satisfying to look back through your diary and see that you’re eating better now than days or weeks earlier.
The most effective food diary is a detailed food diary. The American Cancer Society advises recording everything you eat and drink and including the portion size, number of servings and calories – estimated, if necessary. Also note the time of day, where you were and if you were alone or eating with others. Certain people, such as friends, family and co-workers, may be causing you to overeat, Reardon suggests. It’s a good idea to note your emotional state, too. You could be eating out of boredom or to cope with stress rather than because you’re hungry.
I don’t promote being to obsessive about food but It’s never a bad idea to know what and when your eating.