As a former professional athlete I’ve approached my food intake in many different ways to try to figure out the optimal way for me to eat and perform. Now I try to figure out the optimal way for me to eat and feel well. I have tracked my calories and macronutrient intake at various stages in my life.
I do believe tracking short term can help people to get a grasp on portion sizes and get an idea of where they are. It’s a short term strategy I would consider. The majority of us don’t need to track our food consumption long term. Most of us are already busy with work, family and life that if you throw in long term tracking of food it can become yet another thing on your to do list. Rather than jumping straight in to downloading an app and tapping all your food consumption into it consider these key points first:
- Am I basing the majority of my diet around whole foods?
- Can I cook 3-5 meals from scratch?
- Do I know the roles of protein, carbohydrates and fats in the body?
- Do I eat regularly throughout the day?
If you are not doing the above already then you are going to make long term weight loss much harder by simply using tracking as your weight loss strategy. When it comes to losing weight, you need to be in a calorie deficit. However, you do not need to count calories in order to achieve this. Many of us would be better served by developing healthy habits that allow us to make better food choices and move a little bit more.