Top 10 lists are the OG click bait. Gotta love it

Calorie counting before MyFitnessPal (or any other app) was like rubbing sticks together to make a fire

Even if it’s pretty straightforward, you’re bound to have some questions.

Just like moving to a new city, you might need the gps to go around the block for the first week. This is a lot like that.

Easy, but you might need some help when you’re just starting out.

My Top 10 Food Tracking Tips:

1)–Don’t eat back the calories from your exercise (or better yet, don’t log your exercise at all). For three reasons: First, studies have consistently shown we grossly overestimate the amount of calories we burn (either intuitively or with a tracker) and underestimate the calories we eat. Second, it’s laughable how easy it is to eat back those extra 300 calories you burned at Zumba. Third, it builds a mentality of “exercising so you can eat more” which is a really shitty way to think about treating your body well…especially considering point #2. I would only use MFP to log your food and your weigh ins. The more things you try to track the less consistent you’ll be (plus it’ll be a headache)

2)–Weigh/Measure everything at home and OVERESTIMATE when you’re out. The more accurate your data, the better adjustments you can make, the better results you’ll get and the sooner you can ditch tracking and learn how to live “intuitively“. If you are estimating a meal out, more often than not the meal you get at a restaurant is not the same as the home cooked version. Better to guess on the higher side to be safe.

3)–You set your calories, not the app!! – at the end of the day no calculator will be as accurate as “do it consistently for 90 days and see what happens to your body“. That being said, I’ve consistently seen MFP give very low numbers (they think you’re gonna eat back your exercise calories…but you’re not because you read this article!). Pick any calculator online and use that as a starting point. Do it for 90 days consistently, and you’ll know if it’s working

4)–Use calorie RANGES, even if the app uses exact numbers – if you decide “1700” is a good number for you, use something like 1600-1800 so you give yourself some wiggle room. Piling up more “wins” along the way usually increases momentum, enjoyment, and buy-in.

5)–Focus on calories + protein. Allow your Carb:Fat ratio to fall where you like best. Calories will dictate your fat loss. Protein is important for satiety and muscle retention. If those 2 are in check, your C:F ratio won’t make a difference other than giving you a headache with 2 more numbers to count.

6)–Your consistency matters more than your accuracy. Even if certain things aren’t “accurate” in an absolute sense, if you’re consistently inaccurate by the same margin, your “relative” accuracy will allow you to make proper adjustments based on your results. It doesn’t matter if you chose the right or wrong “banana” or “salmon sushi”. Most entires are close enough that it won’t make a huge difference. The more consistent you are with your entries, the more valuable the data you’re getting from the scale/pictures/measurements will be. That way you or your coach will know what adjustments to make.

7)–Whether you weigh your proteins cooked OR raw, just be consistent. Over time any inaccuracies will be washed out.

8)–Try pre-tracking meals you know you’ll want to have later (especially meals out at restaurants) so you can plan better beforehand.

9)–Use the barcode scanner when you can. Using the barcode feature is definitely a “technology is awesome” moment. Excepttttt the flashlight comes on and everyone in the kitchen looks at you like an idiot. Oh well.

10)–“Save” meals you eat often. If you eat the same breakfast (or any other meal) most of the time this will save you a few seconds. Plus it will ensure you consistently use the same entries for certain foods.

It may seem daunting the first time you fire up the app. That’s ok, anything worth doing probably has a learning curve.

You figured out how to tie your shoes, drive a car, play an instrument, avoid your in-laws and steal the neighbors cable.

You can do this too 😉

Love you,

-JL