Are you in control and aware of what you eat on daily basis? Do you find that you are putting in the hours with your training but progress is a little slower than anticipated? Our nutrition plays a significant factor in how long it takes for us to achieve the goals we set for ourselves. We have our own preferred cooking methods and dietary choices that suit our needs and goals. As you sit having a quick read of this can you recall what you ate 3 days ago for dinner? I’ll hazard a guess and say you can’t. That’s ok, it’s human nature that we don’t recall every detail of our waking day. That’s why we use the exercise of writing stuff down. When we write stuff down we are holding ourselves accountable and we are making ourselves aware of our behaviours. The more self aware you are the more in charge you are.
Underestimate Calorie Intake
Caloric underestimation is believed to be one of the driving forces behind the obesity epidemic gripping Western society. A report released by the WHO suggested Ireland was on course to be one of the most Obese Nations in Europe by 2030 (1) which is a scary statistic for us Irish. Research carried out on people’s recall of their daily dietary intake versus food they actually ate shows an under-estimation of up to 1000 calories in a day. This is a significant figure irrespective of your goal being to lose weight or gain size.
At CoachPACT.com we utilise MyFitnessPal as a monitoring tool for our clients to monitor their dietary intake through the week. Research on the use of Smartphone technology to monitor dietary intake is gaining significance on its efficacy. The accuracy in reported dietary intake is higher in individuals with a lower BMI score which further adds weight to the claim that individuals who are underestimating their dietary intake are more susceptible to obesity (2) When we keep a log of what we eat through the day we are aware of the total amount of Calories we are putting into our body’s.
By logging your food intake daily you are highlighting your feeding patterns. You will become aware of your dietary intake in and around certain lifestyle situations. You may have had a stressful day at work which leads to you getting little to no sleep that night. This emotional stress may cause a short term hormonal shift where you may end up craving and therefore consuming more sugary snacks and eating less protein. By engaging in the exercise of logging your diet it acts as a restraint to overindulging which you may do after a stressful day to feel comfort in yourself. By keeping a record of what and when you eat, you will be able to identify these ‘trigger foods’ and maybe why you consume certain foods at certain times of the day/week. (3)
Accountability is the cornerstone to achieving your goals, whether it’s weight loss or gain. If you have someone to answer to, even if it is yourself through your food journal, it will motivate you to stay on track with your effort. Our clients often report that even receiving a short text from their coach can motivate them to stay on track as they know someone else is also keeping an eye on their daily nutrition and physical activity habits.
Our food choices are affected by our thoughts and emotions. Stressful situations may cause you to binge or even skip meals which may have a negative impact on your goals. How often are you aware of how much you have actually eaten? Are you conscious of your portion sizes and how they transfer to your plate? By recording your dietary intake you are holding yourself accountable for what you are putting into your body. You are becoming aware of what you actually eat, not what you think you are eating. Your success in attaining your goal is in how honest you are with yourself and your perception around how much you actually eat.
In conclusion using a log to track your dietary intake whether your goal is to lose body fat, gain muscle mass or change you habits and behaviours around your eating patterns is a positive approach in achieving your goals. Keeping a diary also allows for a holistic approach in pursuit of your long term goals. Tracking what you eat combined with identifying your eating patterns sets you on the road to long term sustainable success.
Tracking your food may sound labour some but minimise this by using smartphone technologies to help aid our clients in attaining the long term results they crave. Of course when you set goals with coachpact.com, we hold you accountable to your own success storey. So by removing the friction points of food logging and increasing accountability with your personal remote coach, you can take charge of your nutrition for the better.