Hate food tracking? Easily make it into a fun daily ritual with these pointers.Feb 16, 2022
Ever tried food tracking in your journey to lose weight but then found you disliked it?
Regardless of the nutritional protocol you choose, there are always going to be pros and cons to any strategy.
Let’s use the paleo approach as an example:
Pros: Digestion might improve. More vitality and energy.
Cons: Feeling deprived. Missing out on yummy foods like pizza.
When you’re considering any nutritional approach, you need to weigh the pros and cons and decide what is the best approach for you to achieve your goals.
In my program, I teach macro-counting as one of the core strategies. Why?
- It completely transformed my body. When I was gaining fat despite working out hard, macros changed everything for me.
- It taught me deep nutrition knowledge.
Despite its value as a tool, it can seem tedious or too difficult to some people.
When you are trying to achieve a result in life, you typically must engage in behaviors that are not inherently pleasurable in order to achieve that result. This is when resistance and low motivation show up!
It's very easy to be motivated when you have pleasurable activities in front of you.
Waking up to brew that cup of coffee in the morning? Easy!
Lay on the couch watching Netflix? No prob.
Hit the Chick-fil-A drive through? Zero resistance.
Why? Because there's inherent pleasure at the end of all those experiences!
It's very easy to get motivated when there are inherently pleasurable things awaiting us. The challenge becomes how do you motivate yourself to do things that are not inherently pleasurable but give you access to the results you want?
Quick pleasure gives you a dopamine hit, but it doesn’t give you the deep fulfillment and satisfaction that comes from achieving longer-term goals like …
… waking up and feeling good in your body …
… feeling confident in your clothes …
… feeling lean in your stomach …
… feeling good in your digestion…
When you’re attempting new habits that help you reach your goals, you tend to only focus on the negative dimensions of those habits.
Exercise? “Ugh, it’s hard and makes me sweaty and I feel uncomfortable doing it. I’m too busy to work out. SKIP.”
Meal prepping? “This is so tedious. I don’t like leftovers. I don’t want to do any work on my Sundays, I just want to relax. SKIP.”
Really you need to focus on the positives to generate motivation. Remember, as a human, you are much more motivated to do pleasurable things, so by focusing on the positives of an activity, you train your brain to expect pleasure from this new habit.
Yes, exercising creates discomfort. But it also decreases stress, increases self-esteem, promotes better sleep, enhances relaxation and sheds fat.
Can you be uncomfortable for 30 minutes to receive 12 hours of feeling good that day and 8 hours of great sleep that night?
Yes, chopping up vegetables is not necessarily inherently pleasurable (unless you love getting out your aggression with a knife!). But it creates fast, healthy lunches, great snacking options, vitality, and improved digestive health.
If you fail to pay attention to the positive benefits of a habit, you can prematurely dismiss the habit from your life and you’ll miss out on its benefits.
Food tracking is one of those habits.
Sometimes women just instantly dismiss it as a tool.
“Oh, I don't wanna track my food. Oh, I don't wanna count calories. Oh, I don't wanna count macros.”
If you want to lose weight AND you want to have freedom eating a variety of foods, then food tracking is a highly effective strategy.
It provides the necessary structure you need to manage the correct amount of food to eat for your body, goals, and athletic endeavors.
One of the reasons you fail with your nutrition is because you have zero structure guiding you.
You're all over the place, barely eating 1,000 calories one day, then stuffing yourself on the weekend.
You want weight loss with your body but since you don't really understand the quantity necessary to achieve results, you'll do extreme things like just stop eating, starve yourself out at a 1,000 calories a day, try a juice cleanse, a water fast, then binge and start all over again.
Food tracking has a lot of benefits.
My clients tell me that they love it because:
- It works. When tracking, it’s common to lose 1-1.5lbs per week ongoingly.
- It’s sustainable. You can track your food for a long period of time with different tips and tricks.
- It organizes them! Planning out your food creates more preparation and intention in your whole life.
- It creates accountability. Weight loss evidence indicates keeping a food diary greatly improves successful weight loss because it creates mindfulness and awareness.
- It’s fun! Clients have described it as a fun puzzle or game. It's an opportunity to piece things together and learn about food.
Let’s talk about some tips and tricks to making food tracking more fun and sustainable!
- Pre-logging the day (or a few days at a time.) A lot of times food tracking can feel frustrating for people because they're already busy so if you're trying to log food in the middle of your day, you will struggle. Clients who pre-log ahead of time are more successful and they find it more fun and enjoyable.
- Pair logging with a pleasurable activity. How can you make this task more pleasurable? Watch a show on Netflix while pre-logging. Do it while drinking your coffee or tea, anything that you find inherently pleasurable, pair it with that!
- Bring fun to tracking. Change your meal names. Add emojis. Bring more lightness and joy to the processes that you have to do in life.
- See it as a game, play the game and enjoy the game. So for example, in my program, if you get a zero on a macro, we call it a donut! Can you get a triple donut one time in the program? We make it into a game. And when you make something into a game, it's more fun, and what’s fun, you’re motivated to do!
If you master these skills, you are going to get much better results with your body. You're going to develop deep nutrition knowledge and greater self-discipline. You're going to learn how to bring fun and play to even the most tedious of tasks in life.
How to know if food tracking is for you?
- thrive on structure
- understand the value of tracking things that matter to you
- who enjoy hitting and achieving their goals and targets
- who like achieving things
- who like to nerd out on numbers and targets and goals
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