Is tracking what you eat necessary?

You hear it all the time — track what you eat, especially if you’re going on a ‘diet’ or just want to change your eating habits.

supperI’ve been keeping a food log since I started the 30 day Paleo challenge (which was from April 7 — May 7, 2013), and it has helped me immensely with being in touch with my eating habits and cutting out all the sugar. Because quite frankly I cannot rely on youth to keep me fit anymore. Daily exercise and a healthy living lifestyle is key to a healthy life. Instead of uploading it all on my blog though, I upload to instagram.

Maybe you don’t have time to track every trivial detail of what you eat every single day. Sure, I find it annoying and I get questioned about why I’m photographing my food —  but right now it works for me. I’m still not on autopilot on grabbing the most healthiest option available, but I’m getting there. I allow myself treats whenever I want them, however I limit them. Rather than having them once or twice a day I have them once or twice a week. thrive juice bar lunch

Have to be honest though. I have a tendency to focus on the negative. Especially after being SO successful on Paleo and losing 9lbs and 7+ inches on my waist/bum. Since May 7 when the Paleo challenge ended, I have been more aware of my eating and while I was keeping track I wasn’t 100% paleo. More like 100% faileo.

I’ve been enjoying summer and that’s all that counts. Right here, right now. Helloooo homemade Sangria!sangria

I know that Paleo is not for me. As I’ve stated before, any time I’m eating a days worth (or more) of paleo, I get a leaky gut. I don’t think Paleo is a safe option for my body to take on, for life. My body is missing something. Right now I’m eliminating most processed foods and eating clean my way. I’m doing this to better myself. I need to steer clear of fad diets (not saying Paleo is a fad, but who knows…) because one minute it’s healthy for you, the next it’s bad. I have been incorporating carbs, but still no dairy. I’m still not seeing the results I saw on Paleo though, which is tough.

Since I snap photos of everything I eat right down to the meals, snacks and drinks every day it’s helping me visually work on my goals. snack

Have you ever tracked what you ate? Is it working/Has it worked for you?

How do you keep track? (Photos, writing it down online, or a pen + paper combo?)

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18 Comments

  1. I used My fitness pal for a while to track, but I got so annoyed that recipes take forever to input, since I rarely buy pre-packed foods with barcodes it was such a pain! I should start a diary really, that would help me more than tracking calories. If I was just more conscious of my general consumption, that would help. I get treats just that little bit too often at the moment! Things like diet coke (I’ve heard aspartame can prevent weight loss), Costa coffee (empty calories), etc. etc.

  2. I found it was pretty integral for my weight loss. The reality with food tracking is that it comes down to simple math as to whether you will lose weight. If you ingest less calories than you burn in a day, you will definitely lose weight. The only way to know this equation is to track your food and track your activity.
    jamEs recently posted..A Big Idea For CambridgeMy Profile

  3. @Jenny @ simply be me: I signed up for MFP but I found it incredibly frustrating when it didn’t recognize my CrossFit workouts and different foods that I was eating. For instance, unsweetened dried mango slices from Bulk Barn. I was only having 1-3 pieces of it instead of “200g” or whatever was suggested. So I gave it up. I truly have no idea how many calories I take in a day :/ Not sure that’s ideal or not lol….
    Nancy recently posted..Is tracking what you eat necessary?My Profile

  4. I track what I eat mostly for accountability, otherwise I go crazy with sugary and fatty foods. That combo is like crack! I am not Paleo, but I have been trying grain free for a while since I have been developing new food sensitivities lately :/ I can’t eat eggs or dairy, though, and that adds a lot of challenge
    Sarah @ Fit Betty recently posted..Summer Sizzle WorkoutMy Profile

  5. I think tracking is a great tool to help identify what is interfering with your goals (such as weight loss or fitness performance), as well as what foods react negatively in your body, whether it be by stomachache, acne, headache, and so on. By tracking what you eat (loosely–not every ounce or calorie), you can find the problems and create solutions.
    Meredith @ DareYouTo recently posted..DMF: Dance Motivation FitnessMy Profile

  6. I don’t think TRACKING what you eat is completely necessary, but making sure to make HEALTHY choices is paramount! I remember when I was younger I used to track my food intake and it caused a HUGE problem and started controlling my life, when I realized this, I ditched tracking and just ate healthfully!
    GiGi Eats Celebritie recently posted..Tricked Out With CoolioMy Profile

  7. Hi Nancy,

    I’m doing the clean (or as clean as I can) thing, trying to get a bit healthier to feel good and lose a few pounds. I’m finding that just taking note of what I eat on a post-it every day is helping. I didn’t like keeping a “diary” but I do keep the notes and I’ve stuck a big print out of the month on my wall where I note (briefly) how my exercise/food/sleep etc was for that day (just a few words)… I’m trying to spot patterns.

    I agree that the best thing for you is what works NOW, that might change and that’s fine… variety and all that!

    Best of luck… just discovered your blog today so I’ll be back to read more.

  8. @Aisling @ Sunny Side: I love your idea of the post-it notes and putting it on a printout on your wall. It’s definitely motivation for the next month too, I bet.

    I noticed you’re from Ireland. I’ve been there twice (County Meath, and Dublin area mostly). My Brother lived there for 10+ years and married an Irish lady and had 2 boys. But they all hiked up and moved to Canada 3 years ago. Love your name by the way, and thanks for stopping by!
    Nancy recently posted..Blueberry Almond SconesMy Profile

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