“What get’s Measured, gets managed.” -Peter Drucker
This is a quote often referred to in business, and it usually refers to the idea that when you quantify something (i.e. Put a number on it), and track it, you gain control of it.
When you have control of it, you can change it.
How Do You Quantify Your Nutrition?
Nutrition isn’t all about calories, protein, fat and carbohydrates, BUT, these are things that you can measure and control.
You can do this by measuring and tracking your food.
If you’re only tracking calories, it can be easy to simply write down your running total for the day on a piece of paper or in the ‘notes’ app on your phone, but when you start getting into tracking your macronutrients (Protein, fat and carbohydrate), that process becomes a bit complicated.
There’s an App for That
In fact, there are many apps for tracking your food intake, but I generally recommend the MyFitnessPal app to my clients. I’m sure there are apps that are equally good, but I like that the MyFitnessPal app has such a big database, as well as the user interface being quite user-friendly.
How to Use the MyFitnessPal App
The best thing that you can do in order to get started is to download the MyFitnessPal app and play about with it. We’re all pretty good at getting the hang of technology after a few minutes of playing about with it.
Here is the tracking process for each meal:
Weigh your food, where needed. (or look at weight on packaging or seeing sizes.)
Search for that food in the MyFitnessPal app.
Adjust the weight and/or serving size on the app.
Do the same for the other ingredients of that meal.
This will give you a running total of what you’ve eaten that day, so that you can work out how much more you have to eat that day to hit your recommendations.
A Few Tips for Using the App
When setting up the app, you’ll be asked to fill in your details, and from that, it will give you some recommendations for calories and macros. I’d advise that you disregard these and use the recommendations you’ve worked out from the above articles, as the MyFitnessPal recommendations tend to be a bit off in a lot of cases, in my experience.
Related to the previous point, I’d recommend resetting your recommendations to zero within the app (through the computer version of the app), as opposed to having their recommendations on your running total, or better yet upgrade to the premium version of the app and setting your recommendations to those that you’ve calculated.
For meals you eat regularly, you can save full meals, for easier tracking going forward.
In order to be most accurate, it’s important to use a food scale, at least for the first while, so that you can get used to what amounts of certain foods look like.
You don’t have to be hitting the exact numbers each day, and in fact, if you go into it with that attitude, you’ll realise it’s pretty much impossible. As long as you’re getting close consistently each day, you’ll be making progress.
On the other hand, it’s important not to go completely off-the-rails and the weekend, after being consistently on-point all week, because you really can undo your progress.
Remember, what gets measured, gets managed. If you want to manage your nutrition, you have to measure it!
Conor O'Nell, Know Yourself Nutrition
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