I know what you are thinking. Tracking and weighing food is a pain in the ass. It takes time and effort that most people just cannot be bothered with. It can often seem like a trivial exercise in our every day lives. I agree with all of the above.
If fat loss is a goal, you should be tracking.
Most of us are terrible estimators when it comes to food – especially when we haven’t tracked in a while. There are simply too many variables in food for us to be accurate when we guess – nutrient density, volume of different foods, weight and fat content of different cuts of meat – if you aren’t tracking, you’re literally just guessing!
One of the more common methods of visual tracking is the old ‘your meat should be the same size as your palm’. This is inherently flawed though, as everyone’s hands are different sizes. Your lean body mass will also influence how much protein you should be having, so although two people may have the same sized palm, their dietary requirements could be very different. I’ve trialed this myself, using hand sizing as a guide to portion control – and what I found is that when I weighed my food, it was grossly more than I should have been having.
Lazy keto has become popularized as of late, where we just eat low carb without tracking. I completely get it, I do – but in the keto community we often see people coming to us for help due to a stall. Frequently, when asked for their stats, macros, and what they’ve been eating, the response will be something along the lines of; “I don’t track”. Herein lies the problem – like I’ve said in another blog post here, fat loss for ketosis is still dependant on a calorie deficit, and without tracking you can’t know if your having 1500 calories, 2000 calories, or even 3500 calories. Sure, you may be in ketosis, but if you eat more calories than you expend day to day, you’ll put on weight.
It gets easier.
Now, the thing about tracking is – you get used to it. You get better, faster, and overall more efficient and weighing and tracking your foods. Like anything, do it often enough and it’ll become a habit, and once it does it’s all smooth sailing. As a bonus, tracking has become far easier over the last few years, with the rise of apps like MyFitnessPal and Cronometer. You no longer have to read nutritional panels and add things up manually, the app’s do all the hard work for you! The beauty with these apps, is it means you can plan ahead, setting up your meals a day or further in advance so you aren’t left short of protein, or going over your calories and keeping yourself from your goals.
You can also use these apps to track your progress
I track using MyFitnessPal. It’s simple, easy to use and has a pretty good list of foods. Here’s an example of one of my more frequent lunches – I tend to prepare these in bulk to save time during the week. It also means I can ensure I’m hitting my protein, and my calories remain relative to my goals. Doing this also allows me to plan my dinners somewhat more creatively. I can plan around birthdays and dinners out, knowing how many calories I’m aiming for and how much protein I need to have. It really does make a world of difference to your results when you learn how to do this and do it properly.
Although it often seems daunting, just give it a try and have a bit of a play with the apps, their different functions, and see which one works for you. If you are still struggling, we’ve got a couple of video’s that show you how to use both the desktop and mobile versions of the MyFitnessPal app.