Food logging (v) a torture method used, starting sometime in the 21st century, to confuse and cause feelings of guilt and sadness.
That is how most people who don’t food log, think of food logging. That it is something that, by design, is dreadful and downright depressing. Either one, because they feel their food log “judges” them, two that food logging just can’t be done fast enough and they just want to eat or thee, a combo of the one and two.
Well I’m here to tell you that food logging IS ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL to your weight loss goals. I also am here to tell you that your food log will not (if used correctly) be used to judge you and that it also gets 10x faster once you give it some time and practice. Continue ahead for some tips and insights into food logging – and if you take these tips to practice – just watch as your weight loss aspirations actually start to become a reality.
Thank you again for coming back for another Driving Weight Loss blog! This is part 2 of a 3 part series (part 1) where we are going to discuss food logging. What it is, why it is important (or essential would be a better word) and how to make it a bit easier with one game changing tip toward the end! Here we go!
What is food logging?
You very well might be familiar with food logging but just for the sake of putting us all on the same page: it is the act of logging, whether on pen and paper, phone, or any other method, the calories, macro, and micro nutrients of a person’s food intake.
What is food logging NOT? The act of logging only when you are able to eat “good” foods.
Too many people think that they can only food log on the good days (or nights) or when they have been doing good with their workouts and eating “good” foods. Good good good, all is good. Well in real life, not all is good. Most days in fact aren’t going to be all good. Food logging is just data collection allowing us to make changes in the FUTURE, better equipping us to succeed.
This leads to a small point which I won’t harp on for more than this sentence: since a food log should be used to help us make adjustments in the future, we should think about it in a way that says “Oh, I didn’t do too well here. How can I fix this for next time?” instead of “Oh, I suck. Look how bad I did”. It’s about your mind set.
Why is it essential?
The next topic on food logging is why? Why food log? It does take a bit of time, especially at first, and it can certainly make a person feel some guilt (but, only if the mindset hasn’t changed as just discussed) so why is it so important?
Well, we can’t fix a problem if we don’t know the problem is there. A food log (one taken over several weeks or months especially) is so useful when it comes to making adjustments.
If, over the course of 3-5 weeks, we don’t notice the scale moving we can make adjustments assuming we have access to a food log. Let’s say a person is eating on average 2,400 calories and over the last 4 weeks has not only not lost any weight, but it seems they have gained some weight. Well, this would be a problem. Not one that a person should freak out about – but only because we now have the power to STOP it! So, with my clients, I look at their food log, see that their calories have been fairly consistent and we drop those down to about 2,100.
If they say something like “that is going to be really hard, I don’t know if I will be able to do that” (and a lot of times, it isn’t a problem at all once they give it a try) well then once again, we have a means to provide a solution: the food log!
After my client says something along those lines I will go through their food log and usually spot something that can help a lot. For illustrative purposes let’s say they have been eating 3 tbsp of peanut butter and been slightly high on their fat because of it (which I only know because I have a food log in front of me) well, the solution to our problem becomes readily apparent: we can drop about 300 calories by removing something that isn’t taking up much space in the stomach at all. This means that my client won’t hardly even notice that they are eating less.
I wouldn’t take out 300 calories of chicken breast – because that is part of what is making them feel so satisfied on 2,400 calories. But something as small as 3 tbsp? Yeah, let’s try that first.
So, what is the game changing tip to make food logging easier?
Okay, so, food logging takes time. I can’t argue that. Especially at first you are going to feel like you are spending more time food logging than actually eating (which, you very well might be). But how can we make it easier? I have an awesome tip for you (albeit, maybe not that secret anymore) but first I am going to give you a couple of simple ones:
- Cook in bulk
- This doesn’t have to be gourmet food. Simply cooking 10 lbs. of chicken breast and 8 cups of rice along with 10 cups of veggies can make so many meals it will last you for a week! I know you don’t want to eat all that chicken, but that is just one example. Do this with a couple of other things and you have a lot of variety all week long.
- Keep your ingredients simple
- When first starting out, it might not be a good idea to try and cook new recipes and long ingredient list recipes. Chili for instance – that can be a drag to food log if you are new to it. So keep it simple: Choose a protein (chicken, fish, eggs etc.), choose a carb (rice, beans, pasta etc.) and choose a veggie, add some healthy olive oil, and you have a simple meal that is extremely easy to food log.
- Use a slow cooker!
- This could be the game changing tip right here! But – it’s not. It’s just common sense – these things are amazing. You can cook 3-4 potatoes WHILE YOU ARE AT WORK!!! I know I know, you already knew that but it’s still cool and deserved all caps. You can cook chicken, beans, even rice in a slow cooker. It saves time and helps you cook in bulk while keeping ingredients simple.
Now, the one that most people know but they may not know just how awesome this tip is until they really put it to practice:
4. Buy and use a food scale – for almost EVERYTHING
Start looking at food labels. Almost all food has grams in their serving size. So a serving of baked chips might say: About 17 chips (53g). Peanut butter says something along the lines of: 2 TBSP (32g). Greek yogurt says: 1/4 cup (30g). The grams is game changing. This means that you can skip those stupid measuring spoons and measuring cups.
Let me show you an example using a sandwich:
- Place your plate on the food scale and “zero” it out
- Your mustard says 2tsp or 5g is a serving – so you put your bread on the scale, zero it out again, and pour it on until it says 5g. Zero the scale again.
- Place your ham on the sandwich (a serving size is 2oz. or 32g, just as an example) so you can either switch the measurement to oz or stick with grams and you stop when it says – you guessed it 32. Or if you are looking for more protein, when it says 64g etc. etc.
- Now we get to the miracle whip (or mayo for you miracle whip haters out there). This one is a bit more tricky because it kind of sticks together and is harder to get an exact gram amount. Let’s say the serving is 1/8 cup or 15g. Take the plate off the scale and place the mayo jar on the scale – zero it out – scoop out the mayo until it says -15g! EASY!
You literally can food log a sandwich in 30 seconds. Would it take less time if you skipped the food logging? Sure, but when you are good enough at this it will only take you an extra 10 minutes a day at most. If you don’t have 10 minutes a day to spare then you don’t have time to lose weight in the first place.
This food scale tip works with almost EVERYTHING out there. It is an absolute time saver and game changer. Start looking at all the things you could log if you used grams and for things like mayo (peanut butter, even shredded cheese, other things) place the jar or container on the food scale and scoop out until it gives you a negative number. No more scraping the peanut butter up and wondering “is this a tablespoon? It is kind of over the top but there is a bubble there as well. And when I scoop it out some of the peanut butter is on the side – what do I do about that?” Avoid all that by using a scale. Easy peasy lemon squeezey!
Sometimes being taught how to food log more efficiently isn’t enough. That is where a personal trainer comes in. When you have a person telling you this but tailored specifically for your situation, it can be a life saver. 4 Faith Fitness specializes in online personal training done through an easy to use app. Go to our website to find out more details and start your two week free trial – experience having a trainer in your pocket 7 days a week and make this the last time you try to lose weight. Never. Fail. Again.