Craig Leonard

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Why You Should Spend Some Time Tracking Your Food

Craig Leonard September 28, 2013
Tracking Your Food

I want you to answer a few questions for me:

How many calories do you eat per day on average?

How many grams of protein do you eat per day on average?

How many grams of carbs do you eat per day on average?

How many grams of fat do you eat per day on average?

Even if you aren’t sure how to answer the questions above, I want you to take your best guess. The truth is that unless you’ve ever taken the time to track what you’re eating, and have a good understanding of the nutritional makeup of the foods you’re eating, your answers are probably going to be way off the mark.

Most people literally have no bearing on what they’re eating. They’ll tell you they’re eating 2,500 calories per day when it’s really closer to 4,000. They’ll honestly believe they eat no more than 150 grams of carbs per day when it’s really more like 300 grams.

When we’re dealing with something as important as how we’re feeding our body, I’m dumbfounded at how little priority it is given.

What you’re eating largely governs how attractive your body looks, how your body physically performs, the strength of your immune system, your ability to remain disease free and is a significant determining factor in how long you will live.

Without question, those who regularly consume calories in excess of their body’s needs are exponentially more likely to develop debilitating diseases and die years earlier than those who are more conservative with their caloric intake.

It is an interesting paradox that those who are overweight and obese are the least likely to have a grasp on how much energy they’re consuming on a daily basis. I say it’s interesting because people that fit this description also have a penchant for complaining that their fat loss plateaus after a couple of weeks.

I also hear them claiming that they already eat “pretty healthy”.

Really? Last I checked there isn’t a single reputable study that has linked eating healthy with obesity!

Unless you’ve taken the time to track what you’re eating for a few weeks on end, there’s just no way that you can possibly make a determination about how healthy it is or whether it places you in the caloric deficit required for fat loss or not.

Also, if you’re out in left field when it comes to knowing what you’re feeding your body, how could you possibly know what changes need to made when your fat loss does plateau so you can continue shedding fat until you have your ideal body?

You couldn’t.

I consider keeping a food log a requirement for anyone who desires to improve the composition of their bodies, especially if they’ve never gone through the exercise before.

It is extremely educational and gaining a grasp of the true nutritional value of the foods you’re eating is something that will serve you for the rest of your life.

I’m not going to say it isn’t inconvenient. It is.

A lot of things in life are inconvenient, yet we do them because the benefits they provide outweigh the damage that’s done if we neglect their importance.

A few examples that come to mind include:

  • Changing the oil in my car
  • Flossing my teeth or, even worse, going to the dentist
  • Cleaning out my guttersTracking Your Food Apps
  • And, of course, weight training and conditioning

When your diet is placed in the proper perspective, you can see that you really don’t have an excuse for not taking the time to track your food for at least a few weeks.

You inconvenience yourself over far more menial things every week and I promise the exercise of tracking your foods will be eye opening for you – and more beneficial than most other things you’d spend five or ten minutes a day doing.

Whether they’re following Every Seven Days Fat Loss, or working with me personally, there’s a reason I require every client of mine whose goal is fat loss to track their food intake: Because losing significant amounts of body fat – and keeping it off for good – is next to impossible without the hands-on education tracking your foods provides.

So start a food log. This can be a smartphone app, a composition notebook, a spreadsheet, whatever. It doesn’t matter.

Find a way to start tracking your food.

This is the only way for you to be able to provide accurate answers to the questions I opened this article with – answers that are absolutely integral to your ability to live lean, fit, strong and healthy.

You’ll be surprised to find that your calories and macronutrient profiles are quite different than you thought. You will also probably identify weak points in your diet that have been keeping you from achieving your goals, allowing you to fix them so you can get back to progressing toward your goals.

That which gets measured gets improved.

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