Tracking Calories – Myfitnesspal

If you read my posts regularly you know how important I think nutrition is.  It’s not an exact number, but nutrition is going to account for roughly 80% of your results.  So if your nutrition is going to account for more than half of your results, don’t you think tracking calories might be a good idea?  In my opinion nutrition is by far the hardest thing to nail.  The workouts may be physically demanding, but getting your nutrition right can take a lot of planning and a lot of willpower to stick with your plan when temptations arise.  Tracking calories is an awesome way to help you stay on track and gives you lots of useful information.  The  good news is that there is a tool out there to making tracking calories super easy, and that’s myfitnesspal.

Tracking Calories – Why Do It In The First Place?

So first of, why is tracking calories really that important?  Can’t you just try to eat healthy?  That’s what I thought at first too.  I started Insanity and I didn’t track what I was eating.  I thought I was eating healthier, but in reality I wasn’t changing much of anything.  So I went a whole month without dropping a single pound, which I attribute mostly to not following the nutrition plan.  Thankfully I realized that was the issue, so I started tracking calories and following the nutrition guide and ended up losing 17 lbs in the second month!  It was really the difference maker for me.  So in my opinion, tracking calories is incredibly important for a few reasons:

1) You won’t over or under eat.  You can be surprised when you really start tracking calories.  It’s very easy to over or under eat.  When you don’t track, some people find it really easy to just keep eating all the time and end up overshooting their daily calorie goal.  Others have the exact same problem.  They’re trying to eat healthy, so they end up greatly restricting their calories, which doesn’t help them either.  When you’re tracking calories it is much easier to hit your target every day.

2) You have accurate data.  When people come to me and ask me why they’re not seeing the results they want I usually start asking about their nutrition.  If they’re not tracking calories and know exactly what they’ve been eating, it’s very hard for me to help them in any meaningful way.  It’s just like the workouts.  As Tony says, “How do you know what to do if you don’t know what you did?”  That’s one of my favorite Tony Horton quotes, and as silly as it sounds it is actually very helpful.  How will you or I know what changes to make to your nutrition if you’re not tracking it?

3) Helps you avoid indulgences.  Anyone have a sweet tooth out there?  I know I do.  And for me, when I’m tracking calories, I’m much less likely to eat a brownie or a cookie if I have to punch it in to myfitnesspal.  It’s like another layer of accountability.  Plus if you do log it then you can really see how bad it is for you.  So for me, it’s a great way to hold myself accountable to sticking with my nutrition plan and not partaking in the foods that are going to hamper my results.

Tracking Calories With Myfitnesspal

tracking caloriesIn my opinion, myfitnesspal is the best tool out their for tracking calories.  I’ve used other trackers, which have been much more clumsy and taken way more time.  In the other tools I would have to make my own foods for things like Shakeology or other foods that it didn’t recognize.  Myfitnesspal by far has the most extensive library of foods that I’ve seen.  I’ve never punched in something it hasn’t found.  It even has meals at restaurants so you can look at nutritional info ahead of time before you go somewhere.  Plus it even has a bar code scanner.  So if you have the package of what you’re eating in front of you, just scan the barcode and it’s automatically added.  Now that’s cool!  Plus the outputs it gives you are super helpful.  It will show you your total nutritional breakdown as far as grams of protein, carbs, fat as well as vitamins, minerals and sodium too.  You get the hard numbers or can look at a pie chart to make sure you’re hitting the correct percentages of protein/carbs/fat every day.  It makes tracking calories easy!  So if you have a smartphone, I highly recommend getting the myfitnesspal app or you can do it from your computer as well.  But really, with myfitnesspal you have no excuse for not tracking calories.

Tracking Calories – Bottom Line

The bottom line is that the people who are tracking calories get the best results.  When you take your nutrition seriously is when you can really see lots of improvement.  Yes, the workouts are very important, but if you’re not following your nutrition plan and tracking calories then you’re going to get frustrated.  Please don’t make the same mistake I did!  I wasted a whole month of really intense workouts because I didn’t change what I was eating.  If you’re putting in the time and effort with your workouts, you owe it to yourself to follow the nutrition plan and get the results you want!

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