Tracking your food intake is a double edged sword. It can open your eyes to what your meal contains but it can also become an obsessive trait that has negative effects.
Here is our simple guide to tracking your intake.
STEP 1 - Download an APP
These two apps are the leaders in tracking in our opinion.
MYFITNESS PAL - Very easy to use and has a large bank of foods and meals to use. Branded products are in the database and can scan barcodes. Creation of recipes and copying of days / meals allows for quick entry.
LIFESUM - Beautiful looking app and has great features.
- Download the app
- Enter your details and calorie targets based off the macronutrient calculator.
STEP 2 - Just enter your meals
It can be a huge shift from never tracking to having to remember to log every meal / food that you consume. Start to get used to measuring food, weighing and reading food labels.
We advise to do this for 3 - 4 days. You do not have to track every day for 2 weeks. Start with the regualr meals you eat.
YOU HAVE TO ENTER EVERYTHING. Do not just put in the good stuff. It is about being honest!
- Focus on tracking intake and do not worry about hitting certain targets.
- Get used to tracking and weighing food.
- Do it on a few days. Weekday, weekend / training, non training day
STEP 3 - Just track calories
As we know from the pyramid of importance we need to get our energy balance nailed down before we start focusing on other areas.
So now we have a little understanding on tracking intake we can start to adjust to ensure we hit our calorie targets. We want to be within 10-15% so identify where you can make some changes from the previous week and adjust your meals.
For example if the macro calculator says 450 calories and your current breakfast is 790 calories then make an adjustment to bring this down.
- Use the sample meal plans to give you an idea of how much food contributes to certain calories.
- Use the recipe section and use meals that will correlate to the correct calorie target.
- Start to understand where "sneaky" calories are in your diet. Areas such as fizzy drinks, sugary coffees and oily foods can ramp up calories quickly.
STEP 4 - Adjust to hit macros
This week we are going to focus on hitting protein, carbs and fats.
Just taking a look over a day you will see where the weak areas are in your daily plan.
- Is your breakfast super high in carbs leaving you with hardly any for the day? This is a classic example and we want to adjust to get a better balance.
This is often where people will fall down. So don't worry about hitting them spot on every day. It is so tough! It is about balance over the day, week, month.
- Use the previous weeks diary to adjust meals to hit macronutrient targets.
- Focus on protein first. Then build to hitting carbs and fats.
- Identify some go to meals that hit your macro targets.
Our food guide provides you with tables and infographics to help you with the confusing world of calories and macros!