My Fitness Pal (and tracker apps in general) have a bit of a bad reputation. People for years have associated food trackers with calorie counting (see my other post) and restrictive, obsessive behaviours. There are other reasons why people hate using tracking apps:
- "It's way too time consuming"
- "It puts me in a bad mood and all I think about is hitting the number"
- "I end up eating the same thing every day because it's easy"
- "I end up just buying foods with bar codes on them so I can scan it and not have to enter it in"
An important part of my job includes collecting objective data from our members. I, as a coach and my other coaches take time to get to know each client! But we need information, of course, in order to do so. So tracking food is a huge part of our coaching program. A more important part of our role is reframing food tracking as a temporary practise to build up the lifelong tool of understanding food and its breakdown. Here's what food tracking should be viewed as
- a way to understand if you're eating enough good quality food
- a tool to measure consistency
- a tool to understand proper portions and meal balance
- a tool to show progress over the days, months and years
So here's how we can use My Fitness Pal or at least THINK about My Fitness Pal a bit better.
1 - Don't use the macro suggestions MFP provides you upon sign up. They're way too low and the formula isn't conducive to sustainable weight loss. It puts you it way too aggressive a caloric deficit. Use tdeecalculator.net OR join our email list for news on when our very own app gets released next month for your free macro profile.
2 - Don't try and hit the macronutrients right away. Use them as a guide. Instead, take the first few weeks to months and focus on your vitamins, minerals, fibre and sugar intake.
3 - Get curious. Treat your body like a science lab and start to get curious about the foods you're eating.
4 - Find a system to save time. Keep a piece of paper on your fridge with a pen or keep a note pad nearby. Write down your food as you go and then take 5 minutes and log it in your phone at the end of the day. Use that time to assess how you did and try and to better the next day! OR, pre-log your food the night before if you've done some meal prep.
Here's what a few months of tracking will give you:
1 - An increase in protein daily which will lead to better body composition, increased muscle retention and growth, and a increase in hormone regulation
2 - The ability to understand portions when dining out. Imagine yourself at dinner and being able to order off a menu with the understanding of what's in a particular food. You can now make an educated choice without having to track - you just know. And now you can dine out without it hindering your progress
3 - Confidence in your progress. You now have months of data that you can work off of, tweak and adjust to hit any goal you want.
So next time you scoff at the thought of tracking your food, ask yourself this question - do you know for certain that you're eating a well balanced diet that is optimized for your personal goals and body?
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