After my and Steve’s conversation on tracking calories (#18: Calorie Counting – Practical & Real World Guidance), I thought I would give you an insight into when and how I track my own calories.
I have to be honest, I am not a massive fan of tracking calories personally, however I do see the value in doing it, so I have found a way that works for me. Unless you are a physique competitor or top level athlete, there’s no real need to track all the time. But, if you’re looking to control your bodyweight I would suggest having a period where you track your diet so you can understand and learn about the calories within your food, which will enable you to get to a point where you can control your diet with your own intuition. This means you’ll have an idea of the calorie content of a meal by sight (even if this involves adding up each item on your plate), and you will also have a good sense of portion size and weight before it gets to the scales. It may take weeks to get used to, or it may take months, but it’s worth the effort in the long run.
This is not to say that you shouldn’t track forever because you may be someone that loves the numbers and having the control over your diet and if thats you then by all means crack on and track your life away.
How/When do I track my calories?
Although I have a relatively good grasp on what my diet looks like calorie wise and I can guesstimate most meals, I still need to periodically check myself and sharpen my calorie sword. So every now and again, I set a period of 1-3 weeks where I track my calorie intake. I then stop once I feel I’m comfortable and that I can manage my diet and intake, without tracking anymore.
And I want to be clear.. I am not trying to be a physique athlete or trying to be absolutely ripped, I aim to be around 10% body fat without having to track every single calorie every single day. That’s the goal, so this is why I decide to check in every now and then and make sure I am on the right path. This keeps me on point, and ensures I keep learning as it’s always a constant journey.
At what point would I choose to track?
Humans can be very habitual when it comes to eating habits.. I know I am. Every now and then naturally our diets evolve and change – if we try something new that we like, or something in our routine changes. When this happens, I check back in to see where I’m at calorie wise, and adjust accordingly to ensure I’m on track to reach my goal.
Another reason for me to track for a set period of time would be leading up to an event like a holiday where I want to have a little more control over my diet to dial in on how I look beforehand. Lets be honest, who doesn’t want to look good on holiday!
P.S. I use MyFitnessPal incase you are wondering what app I use to track my calories. There are many other free calorie counting apps but I find this one has a great database when looking to search for your favourite food brands and restaurants.
Follow Bryn’s Body Progress Journal as it unfolds. Comment if you have questions, ideas or motivation to offer.