How many of you are currently following a diet? You may have found it in a magazine, on a website, or from a famous celebrity tweet - or is it "twit?" If you are, my question is this: how long can you see yourself following the diet?
I have many clients ask me about my nutrition coaching. They expect a simple sit down where we cover calories. They want that followed by how much protein they should eat and how many carbs they shouldn't. If it were only that simple.
Many times my nutrition coaching is more about the psychology of eating. When do you eat? How do you eat? Why do you eat? What makes you want to eat that cookie/brownie/trough of ice cream? Try answering these questions with a bit of introspection yourself and you'll see it can get quite sticky. It is with this in mind that I want to discuss the practice of tracking your calories.
Yes, the act of writing down, or logging in an app, every single thing you eat can be beneficial. It can lead to a better understanding of your dietary habits. I've had numerous clients begin a session with "I eat pretty well," only to follow up the next week with "umm, wowza, I'm not the nutritional dynamo I thought I was."
There are special cases that food journaling can benefit, as well. Clients who want to compete in physique and bodybuilding shows, for example, require the exact caloric science (as if such a thing exists) that only journaling provides.
Also, I'll occasionally break out different forms of journal-related activities to find emotional or behavioral links to eating certain foods. This can provide a powerful insight into a person's daily habits, routines, and feelings which allows us to take the next steps in solving their unique health equation.
But, like the diet I mentioned at the beginning, how long can you see yourself tracking your food? Are you OK with missing family events or special outings simply because you're not sure what Aunt Sally put in the fruit salad? Will you forever bring your food scale along with you to Olive Garden, only to slap it out on the table and weight your salmon filet to ensure it's really 4 ounces... wh-wh-what if it's 5?!
I used to think it necessary to track everything I ate. I would decline food at every occasion I went to. I would avoid social gatherings involving food. I would even order the same boring chicken breast and grilled veggies at every restaurant. That's no life for me.
I ditched the scale, the pen and paper and the obsessive behavior. I couldn't be more thankful. I realized that didn't mean I had to eat Aunt Sally's cheesecake. It doesn't mean I'm going to freak out and order the Mondo Cookie with a half gallon of ice cream as a garnish at the restaurant.
It means that I realized I know how to eat sensibly. It means that I can eat according to my body because I found my balance and I taught myself what's healthy and what my body requires - all while enjoying a wider palate, an improved mental state and a healthier, more energetic body.
If you're interested in learning how to do the same, visit my website and click the blog "Use your hands." In it, I'll teach you how to develop portion control, how to easily identify what a proper portion size is for you, and how to have a healthier relationship with food. As with everything on the site, it's all free! Have a great rest of the week, and go do awesome things!
Andy Frisch, NASM CPT, CES, PES, WFS, IFT, NESTA FNC, is a successful personal trainer and nutrition coach who enjoys working with clients of all shapes, sizes and ages. He currently train clients at Sports Village Fitness in Lebanon, works with clients online at www.FreshEvolutionFitness.com.