I’m going to share some advice that I recommend to our clients but I don’t really like to do it. It’s logging everything you eat each day for at least 30 days. I don’t like to keep track of my calorie consumption but I had to log my food for 30 days to really understand exactly what I was putting into my body. So many items are deceptive. You can eat a salad and think “I just ate a really healthy lunch so I can have a chocolate élcair for dessert”. What you may not know is that, supposedly, healthy salad you just ate was packed with 1,100 calories. No kidding. There’s a Parmesan Crusted Chicken Salad at Macaroni Grill that’s 1100 calories and it’s served for lunch. There are lots of restaurants that serve salads that run 700-1100 calories and you would never suspect it.
The power is in knowing (or at least having a general idea of) what each thing you put into your body adds in calories. Until you’ve honestly (this is a key word here) logged your food for at least 30 days I can guarantee that you don’t know how many calories you’re eating. I had a friend that was complaining that he was gaining weight. I asked him how many calories he was eating a day and he guessed 2500. For his size and activity level it didn’t make sense why he was gaining weight. So I asked him to log everything he ate for a week and then let me know what the calorie count was. He sheepishly reported a week later that he was eating 6,000 calories a day. No wonder he was gaining weight. When he got that down to 2500 the weight started falling off.
So here’s my challenge to you. Take our mental script agreement and set the goal to log all your food for one month. There are several free websites you can use to do that. I like Dailyburn.com but most any of them are fine. Count everything, I mean everything that you put into your mouth. See if you’re not shocked by how many calories you’re consuming a day. Then the next month take the same agreement and set a goal for how many calories you want to be eating to reach your ideal shape. After 60 days I can almost guarantee that you will be making better food choices and eating healthier. The great thing is that you will rarely have to log your food going forward (I only do it 1 or 2 days a month now). Most of us have items we enjoy every day so we know exactly how many calories they are ( I like to have a shake for breakfast or lunch and then some greek yogurt for a snack almost every day). It will be the rare occasion that you’ll be going to a new place or having an unusual food that you’ll have to look it up to see the calorie count. Remember to use those special days as your cheat day.
I’d love to hear what trick you use to log your food so you know how much you’re eating each day. If you have links to resources you use, fell free to post those too.