Tracking food…what are you really, honestly tracking?
Are you starting to feel a post-covid plateau coming on?! Do you blame this on your diet or your training? Is it really a plateau, or is there a lack of consistency within your diet, training and tracking?
Did you know that you will (probably) never 100% accurately track your food intake? Even when you are weighing everything you eat, you will still usually either exceed or fall below your daily goal intake by 10% (each way). This, in some circumstances, means we need to focus more on what we are eating, as well as how much. This includes, of course, going into specific detail with our macronutrients, and having targets for each (proteins, carbs and fats), which will encourage us to be more precise in the types of foods we are eating, and portion control them from there.
If you are someone who is weighing all of your food, you need to ensure you are tracking and weighing the food the same way. That is, are you weighing the food before or after it is cooked? Before or after it is peeled/cut? Small factors like this is what makes or breaks the 100% accuracy (or there lack of) when tracking food.
If you aren’t aiming to be specific to the very last gram, and allow for leeway, that is completely fine also. Just be careful, as we can sometimes take this too far, especially with nutrient dense food. Nuts for example, when consuming a serving, you generally ingest on a large amount of calories (anywhere from 100-300 calories depending on the nut) for a small amount of food. This means, if you have a couple extra, your intake will increase relatively generously, in comparison to if you have a little bit more rice or yoghurt (lower calorie dense foods) etc.
When ‘eyeballing’ servings, it is easy to misread the amount you have given yourself without specifically weighing. If you are not weighing your food, I generally advise to track the food you think you have, plus a little extra. Say I approximate 100g of chicken on my plate, I will usually add another 10-20 grams, to be safe.
Though this can get tricky and leave you behind in your daily calories. This is why choosing fresh, pre-made meals with all your macros and food weighed out and calculated for you previously, can be a huge time and stress saver. GMD have the macros for the two sizes of each meal they offer, on the meal you have to consume, you will see the nutrient intake for both sizes. So, no matter where you are, you can add the data into your food diary (My fitness pal) easily and quickly.
When tracking foods, I recommend to ETIHER track specifically, or generically. This means, either weigh your food out or eyeball it. When you have chosen to start tracking, just to avoid inputting only the foods you want to track, rather you should be aiming to put ALL foods in. I know this may sound silly, but some of us have trouble entering/tracking the sneaky 2 chocolate squares or bowl of chips we consumed after dinner. It is not something to be ashamed of, however it is something to be accountable for! Ensure you’re being honest with your tracking to benefit the most out of tracking and staying on top of what you are consuming.