My Thoughts About Food Trackers
N.B. This blog is also available in Finnish and you’ll find it here
“I hardly eat anything at all!” If you’re trying to lose weight with no results and this sounds familiar to you, keep reading!
I have always loved all kind of trackers; activity trackers, fitness trackers, step counters, sleep trackers, and yes all kind of food and meal trackers. I think it’s interesting and instructive to see how the choices I’ve made affect to my everyday life, and how I can make better choices. Already a long time ago I weighed my dishes and kept a food diary to see how my daily energy intake responded to calorie consumption. And still, if I am asked to help with weight loss, I always ask first for food diary.
So, weigh, measure and see how much your snack nut mix and lunch lasagna actually weigh (and contain calories!), you might be surprised!
And why food diary? It won’t lie to you, it won’t let you fool yourself and it will make your weight loss journey a lot easier. The most common problem is, as our busy lives go on, that we tend to eat a lot more than we think we do. And of course there are also those ones, who eat a way too little to lose weight! Read more about that from my previous post. But yeah, we aren’t that good estimating the exact amount of our dishes, we don’t count all the cookies and candies we grabbed when passing coffee room and we easily forget, that fluid calories count also. When you write it down, it all comes concrete.
Those old-fashioned food diaries (usually notebook and pen), were not very practical, because you didn’t have them with you all the time. But now when you anyway carry your smartphone with you, I suggest you to download some Food Tracking app. There’s a lot of options, like very user-friendly MyFitnessPal and Lose It!, and Fitocrazy Macrose and MyMacros+, for those who want to eat just essentials based on macros. I’ve tried many of them, and my all time favorite is FatSecret. Quite stupid name, I know, but it’s still the one I always recommend.
And the reason why I have chosen this one? FatSecret advertises itself as the easiest to use calorie counter and diet tracker for weight loss. It doesn’t push fad diets or customized diet plans in your face in order to make money, and it’s completely free to use. Once you’ve signed up you can begin tracking your meals and exercise.
You can also add custom foods (from your favorite chains and restaurants too!) and recipes, write your feelings down (many diet trackers overlook this feature, but I find it very important especially if you’re an emotional eater!) and set daily calorie and nutrition goals to see how your diet meet them. My favorite thing to check at the end of the day is, how well I got proteins, carbs and fats to meet my goals. FatSecret has a great community of users, too, if you’re more like ‘Let’s do this together and support each other’- kind of slimmer. These are just a few of its good properties, but I believe that you got the point!
Whatever tracker is your choice, be specific and track everything. I recommend you to use it at least for one week to get more specific analyzes, but even a one day experience, can change your way of thinking. I also suggest to use kitchen scale and proper measuring cups and spoons, because your medium sized banana can be a lot bigger than mine, and your small bowl of cereals can actually be more like medium sized. Normally, minor miscalculation doesn’t really matter, but when it comes to weight loss, it’s better to be careful in order to get results. So, weigh, measure and see how much your snack nut mix and lunch lasagna actually weigh (and contain calories!), you might be surprised!