“What gets measured, gets managed.” – Peter Drucker.
OK, I totally lied about that “fun” part. A few years ago my coach, Keena, challenged me to track everything I ate for 3 days. This is kind of akin to asking me to drink bleach. I hate tracking stuff, it’s just not my thing. But good health is my thing, so I decided to not create a voodoo doll of my coach and stick pins in it, but instead, to take her advice.
I downloaded an app, My Fitness Pal, and for 3 days I entered everything I ate. Wow! I was really shocked at the results.
I immediately discovered that I was not getting near as much protein as I thought (and well below what a male of my age and activity level should), that I ate more junk food and snacks than I thought, and I ate a lot more sodium than I should.
I immediately made changes to my diet, and it made a difference. Since then, I have started checking my intake periodically. I find that 3 days to a week is about all I need. Every time I do, I discover flaws in my diet, and ideas for improvement.
There has been research done that proves that people who track their intake lose more weigh than those who don’t.
In one study, by the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, researchers observed 123 postmenopausal, overweight and obese women over the span of a year. These women were put on two different diets and, overall, lost about 11 percent of their body weight (around 19 lbs., or 8.6 kilograms), on average. But regardless of which diet the women followed, the women who completed food journals lost about 4 percent more weight (about 6 lbs., or 2.7 kg), on average, than those who didn’t track their food regularly, according to the findings, published in 2012.
The original app I bought is the one I still use, but it’s kind of pricey. I would check it out though, along with these:
My Fitness Pal
Lastly, if you just aren’t going to get an app and track your intake, try the Flash Diet.
Just take a picture of EVERYTHING before you eat it. Review your images after about 3 days. If you really want to get real with this, challenge a couple friends to do the same, then upload all your images to drop box or a similar storage area and compare notes.
You can see some research on this diet method here:
So take the challenge! It’s actually way better than drinking bleach, and it can make a positive health improvement in your life for years to come.
To your health and success, Dave Sherwin.