“This is essential…right?”
“Is it? Why do I need to put myself through this?”
“I’m robbing myself of any enjoyment out of my meals.”
“This is obsessive, and it’s unhealthy.”
“If I have to do this everytime I eat, I’ll lose weight because I’m not eating just because of this shit.” <—my fav
“It’s too difficult.”
“I don’t know where to even begin.”
I hear something to this effect all the time, and I belonged to the majority who feel this way for quite some time.
It is work, it is a bit tedious, there is a bit of a learning curve. BUT – within it there is freedom.
Let’s get a comparison going here:
Think of your day, what are you going to do today? What can you do today?
You base what you want to do in a day, around what you have to do, correct?
Think of your finances, you keep an eye on how much money’s coming in, and that gives you an idea how much you can spend. You can do what you want, within your means.
You give yourself your freedoms based on the necessary structure that must uphold it.
Why should nutrition be any different? It’s just foreign to you right now, or maybe you haven’t seen it through because you haven’t been educated on how to do it properly, and the simplest way possible.
Is it truly necessary?
You want to lose some fat. Or, maybe you want to bulk up a bit, but cleanly. Maybe you want to lose a lot of fat, and maybe you have a strict deadline.
Can you accurately recall what you’ve eaten today? Do you know if you’re in a caloric deficit or surplus for the day? The week?
Do you know how many grams of carbs are in a cup of rice? Or protein in a 6 oz chicken breast? Or fat in 2 tbsp of olive oil, 50g of avocado, or 4 strips of bacon?
If you have goals that have to do with your dietary intake, wouldn’t it make sense to have some metrics to inform you of where you stand?
“You cannot manage, what you do not measure.”
Read that, and really think about it.
How do you know you’ve made more money this year? Metrics to compare to last year.
How do you know you got to work faster today? Metrics to compare your departure and arrival times.
How do you know you ran a faster 40 this season? Metrics to compare seasons.
Let’s get you some metrics, so you can take out the guesswork.
What you need:
-A food scale (my personal scale), and maybe some measuring cups, spoons if you see fit, but the scale is really all you need.
-A scale to weigh yourself. It’s important to weigh in first thing in the morning, butt ass nekked, after you go pee.
-Download the Myfitnesspal app. It’s simple, free, and we can become friends on the app ( I do this too – @codytoofit)
Get use to the app, input some stuff, click around and get a feel for the interface.
If you have a meal you eat often, input it into “recipes” for quick adding in the future. There is also the option to swipe and add entire meals to other days. There are many time saving features to the app, and after a week it’s simpler than most other software you use on a daily basis.
Pro-Tip: if youre eating something new, go to the “+”, go to “scan barcode”, and you’re golden. The food will pop up, along with the nutrition facts. All you need to do is account for your serving size.
Tracking can reveal many things about your dietary patterns you otherwise might not have picked up on.
-Maybe you drink quite a bit of your calories (milk, sodas, shakes, juices, “health drinks”, beer).
-Or you might be the weekend-warrior-diet-destroyer (I fall into this category) and take the straight and narrow during the week, but all hell breaks loose on the weekend.
-You may learn of your ridiculous under-eating (many who’ve done numerous diets), or overeating (pretty much everyone else).
-You may almost subconsciously avoid one entire macronutrient almost entirely (carbs, fats, or protein).
I can just eyeball it, bro
Have you ever taken a 2 tbsp serving size of peanut butter and lathered that shit on, and look back in the jar and realize there’s about half missing? “Huh, that’s weird.”
You don’t have to track forever, but you cannot eat intuitively until youve tracked. That’s how you learn!
This is an education. You’re educating yourself, and that’s amazing.
Think of how many people don’t, and won’t. You’re already in the minority just by educating yourself via reading this. Take the jump, enjoy the process, and enter the true minority of those who can make create real results.
What about holidays? Or family/social gatherings? Impromptu snacks, gifts, or baked goods from kind souls?
First off, be honest with your self.
Don’t go over to a friends house, or go out just to escape the presence of your food scale (it’s this strange phenomenon that happens once people begin tracking – they get super popular lol).
If you’ve got plans, by all means, make the most of those plans and enjoy yourself. The point of all this is to improve your quality of life, right? I would never become a proponent of anything I didn’t think could, and would, truly benefit you.
Holidays are about friends, family, and happiness. Enjoy them.
If some sweet ol’ lady you work with, your dear Nana, or a kind neighbor bakes you some delightful sugar bombs, don’t be a dick and tell her you’re on a diet (I’ve done it).
BUT, having said that, if you’re hell bent on losing those 5 lbs, and you’ve only 6 weeks left until your vacation, wedding, reunion, photoshoot – whatever it may be – don’t go off the deep end.
Once you start tracking, commit to tracking.
Start one meal at a time, and input beforehand, or while you measure/eat.
Don’t rely on “I’ll track it later” -I screw this up still. Plan ahead for what you can, track as you measure, and if you meal prep track it all out once you’ve cooked and separated into your tupperware!
If I plan to workout, I’ll try to make myself a post workout meal of a shake and an apple. I will go the previous days meal of the shake and apple, see the “…” click it, “copy to date”, and put it in for today or whenever I plan to have it. OR, I can go under today’s snack category that’s empty, and “swipe to add yesterday’s snack”.
There are numerous hacks to the app, and it becomes intuitive.
Food Scale In’s & Outs
When I first started using a food scale, my life became a math equation.
Plate=75 grams+chicken=195 grams-75=120grams+rice=245grams-195grams=50 grams rice
That is a disaster. I don’t read instructions I guess, and like many I’m too impatient to do things the right way the first time.
There’s this lovely button on your food scale labelled “tare” and it’s essentially your reset button.
Put your plate on, 75 grams, press tare, 0 grams. Add chicken, 120 grams, press tare, 0 grams. Add rice, 50 grams, press tare, 0 grams.
No math required. Add tableware, subtract. Add food, input food into MFP, subtract. Add food, input into MFP, subtract. Repeat until you’ve added everything! SIMPLE.
I eat out all the time, I’ll just look up the nutrition facts
That’s a good way to “get on the board” so to speak, but from experience, I know it’s quite inaccurate.
I’ve taken meals home from Moe’s, Sonny’s, Chick-Fil-A, Chipotle, Five Guys, and numerous other places and weighed to compare nutrition facts.
It’s not exactly spot on, but it’s definitely in the ball park. So if you’re home and feel so inclined, I’d say give it a weigh (they’ll have a serving size with a gram amount so you can compare if you’re interested).
I feel like a scientist most of the time now, so, you know, that’s cool and all.
Do I go with the calories and macros MyFitnessPal assigns me?
This can be the toughest part for me to get across to people, as it seems I’m trying to be difficult, but I’m just trying to be accurate!
See, your body adapts with amazing efficiency.
If you’ve been “dieting”, or watching your weight for awhile now, chances are you might be under-eating.
When you login to MFP and begin setting up your account, it’ll ask you about your goals, and you might put in you want to lost 1 or 2 pounds a week.
It’s going to use an equation based on your age, height, weight, and activity level to devise a calorie and macro count for you to adhere to.
That’s awesome, for many it’s a great benefit.
But, if MFP gives you a calorie count of say 2000 calories to lose 1 lb a week, but you’ve only been eating on average around 1700-1800 calories a day and you start eating 2000 calories a day, you’re going to gain some weight most likely.
Why does this happen?
Your metabolic set point has decreased, meaning it’s going to take a lower calorie count to illicit the desired outcome.
That’s going to really frustrate you, which is why we want to track before we adhere to a calorie count. So we know where we stand prior, and where your maintenance is roughly.
I’ve seen many people lose all hope when they’ve gained that 1-2 lbs from the MFP count, because they make the jump, they put their trust in it, but it fails.
All you need is the education as to why.
If you gain weight from it, it means you’ve just eaten in a surplus, which is again, why I always recommend tracking for 1-2 weeks (5 days minimum) prior to adhering to numbers.
So, do I just start with lower numbers?
Well, not always.
Depending on how low your current calories have been, it may not be advisable to continue to drop more and more calories.
At this point, it would be beneficial to increase your calories, or reverse diet back up to a healthy maintenance intake, and then from there we would begin the deficit.
This topic is hot right now, and will be saved for another blog post, just know there is a point of diminishing returns, and the purpose here is to help, not harm, so we must learn first and determine what the plan of action is.
Remember, reach out to me!
I don’t expect to post this and sit back and watch everyone squirm while I point and giggle.
This post is to educate, and to provide an on-ramp for you towards your goals.
& Most Importantly:
We want to become educated, intuitive eaters. We want to know the why’s, and the how’s, to manipulate the variables that can shape us.
I do not wish to make you a disordered eater.
If you honestly feel this will cause you more harm than good, reach out.
If all you get from this is “obsessive, restrictive, and neurotic behavior” it’s not the time for you to make the jump.
Please reach out to me explain to me your perspective, and I’ll do my best to educate, and explain mine.
Thank you for reading!
Remember, nutrition pairs with exercise like a burger pairs with beer, or steak pairs with wine!
Click here for my free “First Phase” bodyweight focused training plan.