Calories are the currency of energy. Our level of body fat highly depends on the energy in vs energy out formula, in other words calories in vs calories out.
This implies that in order to effectively manage your body fat (whether you want to decrease it or even perhaps increase it) you not only need to be mindful of burning sufficient calories through exercise, but you also need to know with reasonable precision how many calories you are consuming every day. This is why calorie tracking is important, whether you like it or not.
By way of a practical example, yesterday I was given 2 Easter figollas and given that it is a once in a year treat which I particularly like, I decided to keep them. I put one in the freezer and the other one I will be enjoying one small piece at a time over the coming days. (You would have probably thought that I wouldn’t even eat something like this… but when you ASSUME you make an ASS of U & ME!)
In fact, over the years I’ve learnt how to not only enjoy a treat but also make it fit my nutrition as part of a sustainable healthy lifestyle. A treat is something that I earn through an otherwise consistent streak of clean eating and exercise, an exception to the general rule, which is why I refer to it as a “treat meal” rather than a “cheat meal”.
So as I do with all the other food I consume, I weighed the piece of figolla that I enjoyed with my coffee, looked it up on MyFitnessPal app and logged it in my phone. While the figures shown in the above image might not be 100% precise, they surely give me a good indication of how many calories I’m consuming together with their corresponding macronutrient split (that proteins, carbs and fats).
The simple habit of tracking whatever I eat (even if in this case an estimate) will help me remain within my calories and macronutrient budget for the day. There is otherwise no way I’m going to be able to stay within my budget.
Whatever you do not track your mind will conveniently not account for. Do it once and you might get away with it. Do it every day and you are destined to pile up body fat.
As a caveat, if you are someone who finds tracking food stressful I suggest that at least you practice this habit for a couple of weeks. You will be surprised by how much we underestimate the amount of calories we consume. Moreover, this brief experience will not only serve you as an eye-opener but it will likely also change your eating behavior going forward.
To fitness with love,