Recently I have just started tracking my food and have been completely surprised with what I have discovered. Do you know exactly what you are eating? How much you are eating? Well, read on.
Recently I decided to undertake a huge challenge for myself and follow a ketogenic diet. After doing a bunch of research, reading, watching youtube videos, finding recipes and listening to podcasts it became evident early on that I would need to track what I was eating. This led me to downloading the "Lifesum" app. If you are someone who is considering doing a similar thing or after this want to track your food intake I strongly recommend this app!
My weight has never really fluctuated and I have for the last 3 years or so been conscious of what food I am fuelling my body with, therefore I have considered myself a 'healthy eater'. By using this app it has really drawn my attention to serving sizes, portions and the importance of different food groups. I would now encourage anyone and everyone to track their food intake for at least a couple of weeks. This process has given me a new insight to the foods I eat and has made me a lot more accountable for what I am consuming.
So what have I learnt...?
1. Serving sizes are not what I thought
As I started logging my food I had to start weighing out my food and working out how much a standard serve was. I started paying attention to the nutritional guides on the packaging of my food or googling serving sizes of fruit and veg. I quickly learnt that the slab of cheese I was enjoying was about 3-4 serving sizes. This had really changed the way I now look at my servings of food and has helped me to incorporate a larger variety of food into each meal.
2. I eat a lot more than I ever expected
Many of us are probably guilty of sneaking in tiny bits and pieces of food throughout the day. This isn't necessarily a bad thing however I didn't realise how much extra I was consuming in a day. Because each time I ate something I was logging it I started to see how many times I found myself standing by the kitchen picking off blueberries, sneaking chocolate or grabbing handful of nuts. It wasn't until I started having to log in these food that I realised I wasn't even hungry. I was really just eating it for the mouth pleasure. Through this process I have started to identify when I want to snack and have asked myself, "do I really need it?"
3. It is actually pretty hard to achieve a balanced diet
Where I thought I was getting a good mix of fruits, veggies, meat, fish, carbs and fats, I quickly found it wasn't as great as I thought. In fact tracking my food made me think harder about what foods I needed to help balance out my day. It made me consider more what meals I was going to have for the day and plan what foods I needed to get into a meal. I honestly think balancing my meals, getting more fats in and reducing some of my carbohydrate intake (to balance my diet) also helped my to curb some cravings.
4. My daily caloric intake is very different to the average person
I am small female (5 foot nothing) however I am quite active so I assumed I would be eating as an average person of 8700KJ a day or possibly even more. False. Actually before any activity my recommended kilojoule intake is at 6900. Which let me say, I go through very quickly. In fact I really need to do a fair bit of physical activity to account for my dinner just about each day. This was a pretty big surprise to me and through finding this out I have actually started serving myself slightly smaller portions of food. Well because, really I don't need that average human sized portion.
5. Logging in food is not that time consuming or hard
Logging food is in no way as hard as I thought it would be especially if you are cooking for yourself. Yes I did have to weight all of my food in the beginning but if I'm honest I have enjoyed doing it and will probably continue to weight out a lot of my food while I meal prep for the week. It can get a little more difficult when eating out however I just do my best to include what I can see and taste in the meal. Not that I really recommend processed foods but the app also has a cool function where I can scan a barcode and add in the serving size I just ate. Simple.