In this blog post, I share my personal journey of meticulously tracking my food intake for several months, distilling valuable insights and key lessons that can help you navigate your own dietary decisions more effectively.
As a passionate advocate for health and wellness, I embarked on this experiment with the aim of unraveling the complexities surrounding nutrition, uncovering patterns in my eating habits, and discovering how various foods impact my body and overall well-being. By meticulously documenting every meal, snack, and beverage consumed, I have accumulated a wealth of knowledge that I am excited to share with you.
Throughout this blog post, you will find a collection of invaluable lessons that I’ve learned through months of experimentation, ensuring that you don’t have to go through the same extensive process.
I will delve into the most significant takeaways that can help you make informed decisions about your diet, whether you’re aiming to lose weight, improve your energy levels, or enhance your overall health.
By sharing my experiences and findings, I hope to empower you with the knowledge needed to approach your diet with confidence and clarity. This blog post is designed to provide you with actionable insights and save you countless hours of tracking and analysis.
The Protein Struggle
I found it very difficult to get two grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight without resorting to whey protein shakes or high protein foods. This will be especially true if you’re in a calorie deficit. We recommend a food first approach. Supplements, by their nature – are there to supplement your diet. Shakes, bars and other products should not form the bulk of your diet.
Key takeaway: While two grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight is recognised as the ‘gold standard’ it might take some time to get there. Set your starting goal to 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight and look to improve over time.
My Dinnerware Is Too Big
Huge fancy plates and deep dish bowls (thanks to my Wife) altered my perception of serving sizes for a lot of foods. Take cereal for example: Are you aware that the recommended serving size for cereals is typically in the range of 30 to 50 grams. I would typically pour a bowl of cereal that was more like 100 grams or more prior to starting this tracking experiment.
Key takeaway: when we use big dinner plates we typically try to fill the plate with sources of carbohydrates like rice, potato and pasta. We’re simply eating too much. Try using smaller plates or measure your carbohydrate foods for a week – I think you’ll be surprised at what you find.
Vegetable Serving Sizes
In contrast to the example above I found it difficult at times to get five or more servings of fruit and vegetables into my daily diet. A single cup or serving size of carrots or green beans is a lot of food. This serving size was about double of what I was used to prior to tracking my food.
Key takeaway: This is simple yet makes so much sense – prioritise vegetable intake if you want to decrease your daily calories and feel fuller for longer.
Exercising to Only Burn Calories is a Waste of Time
Exercise and physical activity should support your overall lifestyle. Dieting tracking apps like Carbon and Macrofactor have built in planning tools whereby you can ‘save’ more calories for weekends or any special events. These tools work well and I would recommend planning out your foods or at least main meals throughout a week if you are somebody that struggles over the weekend with excess food.
One night of drinking alcohol could mean a daily increase of 1,500 calories. Saying you are going to work harder and burn off the calories the following week is a bad idea. Do you realise how much work this takes? You will typically only burn 100 calories per mile as a reference.
Key takeaway: Keep the overindulgence or drinking for special occasions. One night of partying can take away from 7 to 10 days of weight loss progress.
I hope you found this information helpful. If you did, be sure to check out our other nutrition related resources.