So many people swear by food tracking. They say it adds an extra layer of accountability that helps them really see the dietary patterns and stay on their diet when they’re trying to lose weight or if they’re doing something like getting ready for a bodybuilding competition.
There are also a number of studies that show that those who track their foods tend to experience better results compared to those who don’t track their foods. And I myself kept a journal of every single meal that I had for the first 15 years of my career when I started training.
Which meant that I had literally dozens upon dozens of notebooks with my handwritten accounts of what I was eating because back then we didn’t have cell phones, nor did we have computers to track what we were eating. And so everything had to be handwritten. And I do believe that was instrumental in my ability to evaluate what my diet was and create the diet that I use today.
So, you might expect that I would be a strong proponent of the idea of food tracking, and I’m not. And in this video, I’m going to explain exactly why I don’t recommend food tracking for all of my clients coming in. And also talk about my experience with a group of over 400 men and women who I worked with over the past 3 ½ years with food tracking applications and show that the issue of food tracking isn’t as cut and dry as the more you food track, the better results are going to be.
Stayed tuned and we’ll talk more about this.
In this video, we are talking about food tracking. Does it really work? And is it something you should be doing? Before I go any further I would like to thank everyone for the tremendous support I’ve had so far for this channel, especially those of you who say this is an excellent resource for anyone interested in training naturally.
So do be sure to like, subscribe, and hit that bell so you’re first line to get new content as it comes out. So, onto our topic at hand. As I said before, I personally logged every single meal that I ever ate for the first 15 years of my career. And it was instrumental, as I said, to my success. It was also instrumental to the success of the high intensity training system that I created.
That being said, I don’t believe it’s for everyone. And what I’m going to start with is an example of when I first started using food logging for my clients.
Better Weight Loss Outcomes But Significantly Low Usage of Food Tracking Apps Among 409 Men and Women Over A 12 Month Period
I was contracted by an organization to work with a large group of people. And it was the first time I ever included food tracking in my services. I was working with a clinical dietician at the time, and she recommended that I use this particular platform whereby clients could log their foods and I would be to see what they were eating in real time.
Not something I’d ever used before, but I thought it would be an excellent idea, especially given the fact that I personally had done so well with my own food logging and keeping a food diary was something that I did for so many years. That being said over the course of 12 months, I had 409 clients. And the average weight loss was 13 pounds, which is excellent because it was my first foray into online training.
Low Usage of Food Tracking Apps Among 409 Men and Women Over A 12 Month Period
I had never done any type of online training before, and I was able to help so many people remotely and at the beginning of my virtual career. Now, that being said, even though we had given everyone equal access to the food tracking program, as part of the platform they were on, out of the 409 people, only three people used them.
Low Usage Of Provided Food Tracking Apps Among Kevin’s Clients Over a 36 Month Period
That’s a pretty low statistic. And I was surprised that more people didn’t avail themselves of the service because we really focused on the fact that it was something that would help them. Because again, there’s so many studies out there that show that the more you food track and the more you keep a diary of what you’re eating, the more successful you tend to be if you’re trying to lose weight, but it really didn’t take off.
And so what I did, I opened the platform of all of my clients. In March 2020, when all the gyms here in New York city closed down, my training service went a 100% online. And for me I’ve stayed online ever since then. And all of a sudden my clients had access to this same platform. And so they were able to, for the first time log in their foods using not just a platform where they’re writing what they’re eating, but taking a photograph of it, which makes it so much easier and so much more convenient with their phones. And out of the 51 people who we had only two took advantage of the service.
Again, really small numbers. Now here’s the interesting part. All of my clients did significantly better when we switched to online training because they were more consistent with their training. And because I’m pretty sure that they were eating out less and thus had more control over what they were eating.
Higher Weight Loss Outcomes Among Those Tracking Foods Compared To Those Who Didn’t
Those in the first program I talked about, the 3 people out of the 409 in the organization I was contracted to work with, they all did really well. And among those three people who were logging their foods, their average weight loss was 20 pounds.
And among my regular personal training clients, who decided to track their foods, those who tracked their foods, tended to lose a little more weight and see slightly better results than those who weren’t.
Food Tracking Is Not A Good Fit For Those Who Dislike Analytical Approaches
Now that might lead to conclude that it’s a good idea to track your foods and everyone should be tracking their foods, but here’s the problem. Human beings are individuals. We’re not herd animals. And with something like weight loss, or getting ready for a bodybuilding competition or trying to achieve any goal where there should be some form of documentation, not everyone works the same way.
There are essentially two ways to approach anything. There’s the Apollonian approach, which is very mathematical methodical, and tends to work really well for those who have an analytical mindset. And then there’s the Dionysian approach, which is a little more freestyle. See how you feel, see how things go. Not so much into recording and documenting what you’re doing. Just kind of going with the flow, as they say.
Now, trying to make someone who has a more Dionysian approach in almost everything in their lives to somehow or the other switch to an Apollonian approach to track their foods, isn’t going to work. And I always say this. If a particular weight loss method does not work for you, regardless of what the studies out there say, its success rate is 0% for you and that’s what matters. How does it work best for you?
Food Tracking Can Be Unhealthy For Those With Eating Disorders And May Increase The Likelihood of Developing Eating Disorders In Some People
And there are also some other considerations that need to be borne in mind. Namely, if someone has an eating disorder or someone has difficulty with relationships with food, it’s not a good idea sometimes depending on where they are in their path to be logging their foods.
Personally, my approach today is to not log my foods and that’s an evolution because I started off very Apollonian, as I said, logging everything, but there’s something that has to be said about sustainability. And what I have found over the years is that the most important aspect of any fitness program, whether you’re trying to lose weight, gain weight, put on muscle, get stronger, get ready for a photo shoot or bodybuilding competition, or just look good for the beach, what matters is sustainability. Because the more sustainable whatever process you’re doing, the more likely you are to stick with it. The more likely you are to stick with it, the longer you’re going to do it, the longer you’re going to do it, the more results you’re going to get. Consistency is key. And if there’s a method that’s going to work only for a short period of time, I don’t recommend it because I would rather someone tried to find a balance where what they’re doing is what they’re able to continuously do.
Why Kevin Stopped Logging His Foods
And with food tracking. Yes. I tracked my foods nonstop for 15 years, but there came a point where I looked at all those note pads and notebooks and thought to myself that I had enough data and that I was spending way too much time documenting every single thing I was eating and not enjoying the process.
So even for someone like me, it wasn’t sustainable. I was not able to keep on continuing to log my foods for the 33 years that I’ve been training. And I don’t recommend to my clients today because I want them to have a sustainable approach. I want them to have as natural a relationship with their foods as is humanly possible.
Now, for some people who are highly motivated and have that Apollonian sense. Food logging works for them. And all my clients have the option of food logging. Most of them don’t use it and I will never push them to, because it’s important to know what works best for you. Now, if you do food log and you do do well, then your results could be a hundred percent.
If you’re someone who perhaps food logs every single day of their life and has no problem doing so for the rest of their lives and is committed to doing so and it works for you and it’s sustainable. Then that’s what you should be doing. But for most people, logging every single thing you eat is an inconvenience. And it’s something that could probably at best be used temporarily.
Food Tracking Works Very Well Short Term For Weight Loss or Those Preparing For Bodybuilding Competitions But Only If They Don’t Have An Eating Disorder
Now temporarily, I think it works fantastically. If you’re trying to get through a hump and trying to understand your eating patterns, I often recommend for my clients for a short period of time to log their foods just so they have an idea as to what they’re really eating besides what they think they’re eating. Because when you take the time to document your foods in real time, you tend to find out that the reality of what your dietary composition is, isn’t always what you thought it was.
And it also gives you some insight into your eating patterns when you’re more likely to eat the wrong foods and what exactly the circumstances around your eating the wrong foods were.
So you’ll understand what best to do in the future to avoid those circumstances. But at the same time, it only tends to work temporarily for most people.
And that’s what I do not recommend for any of my clients that they have to log their foods. It’s a service that they can use, but not necessarily one that they have to use. So if you’re someone who’s using something like my fitness pal or any of those other food logging programs, and you’re seeing great success with it, by all means it’s on going with it.
It’s Important To Not Feel Guilty If You Choose Not To Track Your Foods
If it’s something that works for you, go for it. If you’re not, don’t feel guilty because what I tend to see is a lot of my clients feeling guilty about the fact that they’re not logging their foods because so many people are logging their food and they feel like they’re not working as hard as they should be. And that’s absolutely false.
I always say this there’s more than one way to get up that mountain. And just because a lot of people tend to be going in one direction up that mountain doesn’t mean that there are no other paths because there are. If I compare the times when I was logging my foods to the times when I was not logging my foods, I can’t really see a difference in terms of my progress because I was consistent, whether I was logging my foods or not.
For many people logging their foods makes them more consistent. Which really isn’t the case for me, whether I log or not, doesn’t make a difference. But at the end of the day, what matters is that you find a balance. You find a place also where you’re not obsessing about your foods. Foods are meant to be enjoyed, you have to find that place where, what you’re eating and what you want to eat are the same things, which does not come easily.
And sometimes in trying to get that very spiritual connection with your foods, logging it can make it a little bit difficult for some people. But again, your mileage may vary. And so, it’s up to the individual to figure out what’s best for you.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on food logging. Does it work for you? Is it something that you think is sustainable or have you always felt somehow pressured because you weren’t logging and thinking that you were somehow falling short. Thanks again for tuning in and as always Excelsior!