Accountability, Accountability, Accountability. This really is the recurring theme when it comes to talking about how to be successful with any sort of health and fitness related goal. A personal trainer can provide you with accountability from a fitness perspective because it gives you a definite time and place for a workout and someone else whose schedule is set around that time A food diary/journal is a great way to keep you accountable to your nutrition goals. Here’s what you need to do:
1.) I suggest tracking everything online either on a laptop or an app on your phone. Nowadays, there are many food tracking apps available too, keeping it on your phone is an even better way to make sure you always have it with you.
2.) Write down everything you eat or drink – Every time you put something in your mouth, you should be writing it down in your notebook. Write down how much you eat and when you eat it.
3.) An hour or so after you eat something, if you can, go back to your journal and write down how you feel. If you notice you always feel bloated or crampy after eating certain things, this can help identify food sensitivities/allergies such as a gluten or lactose intolerance.
4.) Depending on your goals, you may want to include the calories, fat, protein, carbohydrates, sodium and other nutrients for each food that you eat. You can then use this to evaluate your diet and see if you are getting a good balance of nutrients. This is a key step if you are trying to lose weight since the simple rule to follow is calories in < calories out = weight loss.
Why should you be following these steps?
1.) Accountability – like I said above, the most important thing about a food journal is that it makes you accountable. If it’s written down, you can’t deny it, you ate it; those calories count! Knowing you have to write a food down makes you think before you eat: Do I really want this? Do I need this? Is this bite going to help me reach my nutrient goals or just push me over my caloric limit for the day?
2.) Keeping track of what you eat and when can give you some insight into habits or tendencies you have that you may not notice. Maybe you always grab a mint on the way to the bathroom because someone in your path has them on their desk. Start walking a new way to the bathroom to eliminate those unnecessary snacks.
3.) Tracking what you eat is the only way to analyze your diet. Once you collect the data, you can look it over and see where you struggle, what you have too much of, what you need more of. You can only make changes if you first identify what has to change! Then you can do some research and find ways to solve those imbalances.
Mark Beier– NASM CPT, classically trained chef, the founder of Chicago Fit Club and the “Mark” behind his recently launched pre-workout fuel bar called MARK BAR™
Mark started his fitness career in California and moved to Chicago in 2008 and first worked as the Director of Training at Crunch on North and Sheffield. After a year as the Director of Training at Crunch Mark started his own health and fitness company called Chicago Fit Club, focused on personal training, group training and corporate wellness. Mark runs his Chicago Fit Club personal training business out of a studio in Bucktown called On Your Mark Training at 1753 N. Damen Ave.
Mark has been featured in Men’s Health.com, The RedEye, Time Out Magazine, OK Magazine, ABC News, NBC News, is a regular guest at the Kenmore Live Cooking Studios and has been a guest blogger on several different health and fitness forums. Mark is currently a Lululemon Ambassador, Urban Fit Clubs fitness advisor, is partnering with The Centered Chef to provide wellness strategies for businesses and is the Chairmen of the Wellness Subcommittee for the Small Business Advocacy Council.