There are many ways to alter one’s body composition. With the consistent implementation of simple & effective basic lifestyle guidelines, one can achieve healthy and sustainable levels of body fat and muscle mass. But what about the individuals who are striving for more than just a healthy and sustainable body composition?
A large majority of clients at Central Athlete have goals to lose body fat, gain muscle mass, or do both at the same time (recomposition.) When it comes to making more significant body composition changes, such as losing 10-15 pounds of body fat or putting on 5-10 pounds of muscle, one needs to understand what they’re working with before they can understand how to get to where it is they want to go.
Additionally, once they understand what their current nutritional intake looks like, they’ll need more intentional tools and strategies to reach the physiques they’re striving for.
How might one build this awareness? By logging their food!
As a disclaimer, it is important to understand that every individual’s relationship with food is unique. For example, one person might read the term ‘food logging’ and instantly be swallowed with anxiety, while another individual may find themselves excited to log their food. A qualified, experienced coach can help one identify whether or not food logging is the right route to take or not. Coaches at Central Athlete have a plethora of experience in guiding individuals towards the right avenue in building nutritional awareness.
Bringing awareness to one’s nutritional habits can shine lights on things that they might not want to see. In a similar theme to our recent blog on stress eating, it is imperative to remember that one’s choices around food do not determine their character and makeup as a person.
Food logging is simply a tool used to help one achieve their body composition goals. It’s not inherently a good or bad thing; It’s only a means to an end.
Additionally, it can be done in a few different ways based on individuals’ goals and comfort level with food tracking. While calorie/macronutrient trackers & apps are the most popularly known methods of food logging, there are other less sophisticated, yet just as useful methods of logging one’s food.
Taking pictures of whatever food one eats quite literally paints the clearest image of what someone is consuming on a daily basis. For individuals who have never tried to log their food before, picture taking is a great way to get started. The level of energy required to log one’s food this way is drastically lower than the other methods discussed later on.
It’s important to note that this method of food logging will bring the least amount of quantifiable data on nutritional intake. Once someone can master this method, then they’ll be ready to try a method that requires a bit more physical and mental bandwidth.
Food journaling would be the next step in progressing one’s food logging capabilities. Food journaling allows one to get more quantitative, and qualitative, information about their nutrition. One can not only write down exact quantities of their food, but they can also include any sorts of observations they have when they eat. For example, someone can write down how many bananas they ate after their training, and if they wanted to, how those bananas made them feel afterward.
Food journaling allows one the most creativity, and freedom of input when it comes to understanding their nutrition. It can also bring a breadth of emotional and mental awareness to someone’s relationship with their food.
For individuals who want precise information on their food intake, but don’t want to have to actually write things out or do too much research themselves, using apps such as MyFitnessPal or Cronometer can be the way to go.
These apps have large databases of nutritional information for everyday foods, along with hundreds of menus from popular restaurants. They also give you the ability to set your own caloric/macronutrient goals, which is very helpful for people who have very specific body composition goals.
By having an interface that tells one how much they’ve consumed for the day, and how much left they have to consume, one can stay on top of their daily/weekly nutritional intake fairly easily.
The three methods of food logging discussed in this article are the most common methods implemented in the nutritional programs of clients at Central Athlete. There are always better, more personalized methods to be developed, however, through each client’s collaborative process with their coach.
If you’re looking to gain some more awareness around your nutrition and to collaborate with a professional coach who can guide you towards achieving your own body composition goals, schedule a FREE strategy session today!