I’ve talked about the benefits of using a food tracker in the past. I believe so much in food tracking, I’ve been doing it for one year now. However, food tracking is often the first healthy eating habit to go after a person has reached his or her goal weight. And giving it up may work fine for awhile. But I’ve seen so many people start going down a slippery slope and forgetting their healthy eating habits after they stop using their food tracker. Without this accountability tool, they revert back to adding a little more ketchup to their burger. They grab a handful of crackers instead of low calorie veggies while cooking dinner. They reduce the protein on their plates and add a extra spoonful of mashed potatoes.
If this sounds like you, I recommend that you start using your food tracker again immediately and think about how to incorporate it into your lifestyle for the foreseeable future, because it works for you. Isn’t being able to happily stay at your goal weight, worth spending 2-3 minutes a day tracking your food?
2 More Food Tracker Benefits
I’ve been using my food tracker for 1 full year now. Here is why I don’t anticipate I’ll ever stop using it.
1. Trends become evident.
I’m a big data nerd. I love tracking trends and figuring out patterns over the long-term. Since I have tracked my food for so long, I know the number of calories that should fill me up. One of the biggest trends that I’ve realized while tracking my food, is that on the days I don’t drink coffee, I consume 20-30% more calories! Coffee really is an appetite supressant for me. That being said I still don’t want to drink it everyday. The tracker has also shown me that when I drink wine, I’m much more likely to overeat the next day. I can easily eat up to 40% more calories the following day and just not feel full!
Recognize your eating and appetite trends, and develop strategies to tackle your challenges. For me, knowing this information has taught me to eat a bigger salad at lunch with more protein, to help me manage my afternoon hunger on days when I’m not drinking coffee or if I’ve had alcohol the night before. I have a couple of healthier snacks ready to go in the fridge on these days. Water is my go-to drink. I pay more attention to what I eat and try making smarter, healthier eating decisions on my no coffee and wine follow-up days.
2. Food trackers build accountability.
Trackers quickly point out days when you consume more calories than you should be, for weight maintenance. They force you to make decisions at each eating occasion, about what to put in your mouth. If you know you’ll be out for a calorie-laden dinner, you’re challenged to revisit your breakfast and lunch options that day.
If I have one day where I eat more than I should, when I’m using a food tracker, I’m more inclined to eat cleaner the next day to make up for it. This 80/20 thinking leads me to ultimately, consume fewer calories over the course of the week, month and year. Before I started tracking my food, I was a lot more likely to mindlessly grab a handful of crackers while cooking dinner. Now, I think twice before doing that. That one handful of crackers can push me over the edge of my ‘general’ daily calorie goal, which over time, can lead to a few pounds difference in my weight.
Who Should Give Food Tracking a Try?
If you are looking to improve your eating habits for the long-term, I recommend that if you haven’t already done so, give food tracking a try. Test it out for at least one month. Using your food tracker will become a quicker and easier process once you become familiarized with the calories in a lot of your favourite foods and meals. If you see that the food tracker has improved your eating habits even a little bit, stick with it. I believe that 3 minutes a day of food tracking is worth it if you’re seeing changes. If you don’t feel like anything’s changed, or if you find that you’re fibbing on the tracker, don’t bother with it.
To Sum it up…I’m Going to Stick With my Food Tracker
Food trackers help you figure out your eating trends and patterns over the long-term. Once you recognize these eating and appetite trends, you can develop strategies to tackle the challenges you face. Food trackers force you to make decisions at each eating occasion about what to put in your mouth. They help hold you accountable to following the 80/20 strategy when it comes to eating. In my experience, it’s this strategy that builds long-term success.
Continuing on with a food tracker may be something that you should add into your life routine forever. If it takes 3 minutes a day, and it’s helping you eat healthier, isn’t it worth it?