I just read a blog about a girl who is trying to lose weight and get toned. She’s majoring in all these molecular sciences and says that she knows the science behind how to lose weight. Fantastic! Awesome! BUT, the only thing she tracks on a daily basis on her blog are calories and protein.
In general, I totally disagree with tracking your food intake by using calories, fat, carbs, anything. Unless you are an elite athlete of sorts or use your body to to an extreme, I think it’s pointless and that it’s unhealthy. It puts an emphasis on your intake and when you emphasize something for long enough, it becomes an obsession. I don’t think obsessions are ever good for you, especially with food.
I’m not against tracking for a week or so to see where you stand. Actually, it’s probably good to know your general intake at times. In the past, I’ve tracked everything and gotten a general idea of where I stand. I think the emphasis on intake should be how you feel and on eating real food.
I’ve been building muscle over the last five years, and when I quit working out or eating my normal amount, I lose weight. When I start working out and increase my food intake (because I’m hungry from working out), I build muscle. I am still building muscle now. How do I know? I can see it. I make gains in my weight lifting. Do I have any idea how much protein I eat on a daily basis? Not a clue. I don’t know how many carbs I eat. I don’t know how much fiber I eat. I don’t even know how many calories I eat. I pay attention to what I put on my plate and make sure I’m eating nutrient rich foods. I’m not some crazy athlete. I’ve gone through periods where I lifted heavy and worked out about 10 hours a week, and still made strength gains. I now have weeks where I spend 0 hours at the gym and weeks where I spent 7-8 hours at the gym. On gym days, I make an effort to increase my intake because I know I burned off more energy and need to refuel. On days where I don’t work out, my intake is still healthy (typically), but less.
Now, say, if I was going to the gym and doing the same lifts and never increasing my weight or never seeing any physical gains, would I look at my diet? If I was constantly tired and drained, would I look at my diet? Absolutely. Then I would think something in my diet is lacking because clearly, I’m dragging. Gains aren’t happening even though the physical work is there. And then there will be more than just looking at protein. Am I lacking because I don’t have any carbohydrates so I don’t have the energy to lift heavier? Do I need more protein? Are my chicken sausages just not enough?!?!?!
I just don’t get the point of picking ONE thing to track. You want to track protein? Well, what about cholesterol? What about fats?! (Fats are SO important!!!!) In the blog I just read, I saw hardly any fats at all. The omelets were egg whites (who doesn’t eat the yolk anymore?! It is so good for you!). There were plant of veggies and some tofu, but not much else.
I’m glad that nutrition is becoming more recognized these days. I haven’t decided if it’s because I surround myself with healthy people so of course I see health related articles and statuses all over Facebook or if it really is becoming a big deal all over the US! Staying fit and eating real food is really the only way to turn the healthcare industry around and to lead long, healthy lives. For the average person, this means doing anything active and making sure your plate consists of plenty of different colors that didn’t come from a box. In time, you learn how to pay attention to your body and to how you feel. You know what to eat and what not to eat and don’t have to count to figure it out…
(Again, people with exceptional fitness goals here are exempt from this belief… Fueling a body for 26.2 miles of running or becoming the next Ironman may take a little more nutritional planning.)