Wanna know the simple technique all my most successful clients have used to transform their bodies?
I will tell you — but before I do, I gotta say as a personal trainer it is maddening to me how many other clients absolutely refuse to do this one thing, even though study after study shows it’s one of the keys to weight (and, as a result, fat) loss. It’s maddening to me because I know if they just take this one step, the results they want will happen for them.
What do the successful clients do? They track their food intake by either 1) keeping a food journal that tracks their calorie intake for them (super easy to do with an app or using one of dozens of websites) or 2) following a diet program that has them count points (like Weight Watchers) or calories.
Sorry — I know keeping a food journal isn’t very sexy. But the results sure can be!
These successful clients don’t randomly cut out specific foods (like wheat, a popular one to eliminate these days) or entire macronutrient groups (like carbohydrates). They don’t wing it and guess their calorie intake. They keep good data so they know they are taking in fewer calories than they are burning. And they also don’t create a gigantic gap between their intake and output — just a maintainable 500- to 750-deficit, enough to keep the weight coming off slow and steady.
The most-cited reasons I hear from my clients who don’t want to keep a food journal is that they don’t need to because they “eat clean,” “eat healthy,” or “eat organic.”
Eating healthy, clean and organic food is awesome — but those foods have calories, and sometimes subconsciously we give ourselves license to eat more of those foods because of their positive labels. Hey, I’ve done it myself.
As I said, keeping a food journal doesn’t sound very sexy — in fact, it sounds boring and like it might be time-consuming, and yes, it does take a few minutes a day. But you want to know what is an even bigger waste of time? Thinking that you’re following a diet and then checking your progress each week to find out that what you’re doing hasn’t worked.
If you’re trying to tighten things up a bit, suspend your disbelief and budget a couple minutes into your day to log your food intake. I like myfitnesspal.com and fitbit.com (both can be used via computer or phone app) but there are dozens of other free resources online. What have you got to lose?