I am constantly researching what works: different diets…nutrition concepts…behavior change models and there is ONE common concept shared by ALL professionals that I admire and ALL success stories….YOU MUST WEIGH, MEASURE AND LOG YOUR FOOD! Some rules to live by:
Don’t guess how many calories
Use the green checked options in MFP whenever possible
If it goes in your mouth log it
We can’t lie to ourselves when the issue is in black and white.
If you tell me ” I eat pretty good” I guarantee you don’t, that’s too vague and you may not actually know what “eating good” means (not your fault BTW, too much misleading info out there). You probably don’t know how many calories you eat daily, therefore you don’t know if you are in a caloric deficit or a caloric surplus. I am certain you don’t even know what’s in the food you are eating. My favorite example is a Fiber One bar. They are meant to appeal to people trying to be healthy, but they are absolute shit. How would you know unless you log it into a tracking app and look at what’s in it (trust me its more enlightening than a nutrition label).
So, you don’t want to log because you don’t have time or its too much of a pain in the ass to figure out. I get it but, you keep running around the hamster wheel aimlessly getting more frustrated and thinking there is something wrong with your body. It’s probably a good idea to go ahead and try logging your food whether you want to or not. You probably don’t know your macronutrient intake, most people don’t (again, not your fault). Macronutrients are more important than calories when trying to change your body composition, learn more about them here.
Let me try to explain why in a super easy way.
A calorie is a measure of energy. We determine how many calories are in foods by lighting them on fire and calculating how much energy is burned so we know how much energy is contained in the foods we ingest. BUT, we don’t know at what rate our body burns these calories, total energy expenditure (TEE). So then we really can only estimate caloric needs, not an exact science at all. WE CAN determine whether or not we are in a caloric surplus or a caloric deficit and how much of a gap we need to reach our goals, which is essentially all we really need to be concerned with when it comes to calories.
I say all the time that food is the General of the body. It tells the body what to do with the food we eat including where it gets stored. There is science here. Macronutrients assist with improving our body composition much more than calories do. If your not sure what I mean lets try this….take an ice cream cone as one meal option…now take 4 oz of a lean protein with roasted veggies and 4 oz of sweet potato(crappy comparison as far as your taste buds may be concerned, but work with me here). Both meals are around the same amount of calories but both meals will impact your body composition differently. What commands do you think the ice cream will give to your body? What commands do you think the protein, veggies and sweet potato will give to your body? Do you kinda see what I mean? Granted that I am trying to summarize and break down a CRAZY amount of information but, I think you should get the point.
How will you know whether or not you are in a caloric deficit or a caloric surplus unless you are logging your food? How will you know if your macronutrients are set for fat loss if you don’t even know how much protein you are eating? We have to know what we are putting into our bodies in order to make progress.