Most Crossfit women and men have heard about the concept of tracking their food via the Food Journal. But many people I meet are hesitant to do so because they really fear being transparent about what they are doing, like the person evaluating it is like some High Judge rendering a decision of good or bad. But the truth is that is not what a food journal is for at all. The challenges of the Crossfit workouts www.crossfit.com really put us in a position to rely heavily on our nutrition to help us make gains.
What the Heck is a Food Journal??
Food journals are merely a way to keep track of what you eat in order to make appropriate changes to get to your goals.
For example, I have a client who came to me 3 weeks ago saying how much her strength and stamina and endurance had faltered. She had no idea why. Having attended my How to Make Friends with Food class over a year ago, with success, we spent a little bit of time going back over the basics. Then I had her journal her food for a week. Once we reviewed it, it was so easy to identify exactly where the holes were in her program.
She has taken the next few weeks to make those changes. I am happy to report that she is experiencing ALL the things that she previously lacked. She's leaner, more energetic, having increased strength and improved recovery and she is one happy Crossfit chick! Like she said, " I cannot believe how great I feel! It is literally the opposite of where I was only 2 weeks ago!"
Within days, I had another client drop off her journal and state that she lost 7 pounds in about 10 days after we reviewed and tweaked her last journal! This stuff really works!
- Do it for a week. Weekends tend to bring a bit different tendencies, so it is really important to include those days too.
- Record everything you put in your pie hole. As a nutrition coach, I cannot effectively help you if you are deliberately leaving “cheat” type foods out, or other things that you knew are not the best for your outcome. I really don’t care. I care about getting on track…I am not your mommy, you can eat whatever the heck you want. But if you say that you really want X, Y, or Z, then you will make the changes that we decided on together.
Record sleep, stress level and exercise type and length.
If you want to include your weight before and after, that is fine too.
- Use tools like http://www.myfooddiary.com/ or www.myfitnesspal.com
- As much as we’d like to think we can, we wont remember the next day if we don’t track it daily
- Keeping a food journal helps to make adjustments for your personal goals. It differs whether you want to lose or gain weight, alleviate food allergies/sensitivities, get leaner, build endurance etc. By keeping the journal, we can attack at least half of the battle.
- Even though it is a pain, it is truly a HUGE part of your progress. The more you want progress, the more likely you will do the tracking.
- Even though I strictly prohibited “gaming” or leaving off meals and foods you know don’t help you, when you write them down, it is a confession of sorts. Once you write it down, it is admitting that you ate it and you can move forward. If that cheat made you physically feel disgusting, it will be easy to pinpoint the aggravator!
Most of life's most valuable tasks are usually the simplest. The Food Journal is super simple, basic and doable. Even though many people totally try to avoid doing it, it is quite frankly the missing piece to the goals that you have remained out of your reach.
I really needed to read this and remember to get back on track..thanks!
I've been using the Lose It! app for the iPhone to track my fitness, nutrition, and calorie intake. Awesome tool. If you don't have an iPhone, you can simply use their web site and track your information that way. One of the most helpful things about it is the reporting features which will allow you track trends in your eating and exercise. This tracking ability helps tremendously in evaluating the causes of problems and deciding on potential solutions for them.
For iPhone users, go to the App Store and search for Lose It.
For non-iPhone users, go to http://www.loseit.com.
Online food journals are great because they calculate your calories as you enter your foods, and when you get to the last meal of the day, you automatically know how many calories to have left to consume before you hit your limit for the day. Helps decide what's for dinner – full meal or just a salad!
Right on Tamara!
Many people I know and work with don’t track calories but rather grams of Carbs/Fat/Protein per day, these tools often let you specify following those macronutrients!
AWESOME ARTICLE 🙂 …. I have definitely felt the results of tracking my food first hand!…. I was under the impression that eating fruits, veggies, and protein whenever I wanted would be enough…. however, I was often left feeling sluggish at workouts or crashing in the afternoon….. Tracking my food showed why!!!….. through tracking Anne was able to offer advice on balancing meals and snacks to maximize my performance at workouts and feeling good thoughout the day, while still helping me reach my weight loss goals…. new iphone apps make it ridiculously easy to do it… I use myfitnesspal…. they generate graphs and nutrition analysis' daily making it easy to see issues…… The small amount of effort to track my food was worth the large amount of progress I've seen!
Ashley, you have been so faithful in your tracking and your results have really been obvious! Your strength gains are off the charts too! Yeah for you!
So glad to see you blogging – because you were depriving us of your upbeat motivational coaching. I had no idea how important food tracking is – that it is like an coming to grips with your cheating, why, and then moving on. Wow, it is always a good day when I learn something…. I learned something! Keep it coming Anne!!
thank you, thank you, thank you! I really needed this reminder Anne. It seems to be too easy to make sure my family is eating properly and forget about myself. Will start my journaling today!
NIce post about journal, thank you Anne. The tips are useful not only for me but also for all those who are willing to take of their body
Thanks a lot! Great tips …can't wait for more 🙂
Anne, used to food log but it's been a long time. Read someone's comment here and discovered Iphone's have app and bet my Ipod should too. Like the points of Why Journal in addition to all other points shared.
I used to do food journals when I was pregnant, but honestly, it just became one more thing on my 'to-do' list so that was the last time! They're a great idea when you're heading into a new fitness regimen or are trying to isolate where a health issue maybe be coming from. Great reminder!