Many people are sold on the untruth that nutrition is an all-or-nothing proposition. One either consumes pizza, bacon, beer, and cookies, or survives on raw carrot sticks and brown rice; there's no in-between.
This mentality makes nutrition, commonly referred to as the dreaded "diet", a very unpopular topic that most gladly avoid. It's the proverbial 800 pound gorilla in the room.
The truth is, swapping one set of eating habits for another overnight just doesn't work. By going this route, it doesn't take very long until we feel deprived, hungry, and miserable. This is when one treat leads to two, two leads to three, and before you know it, old habits return with a vengeance.
How do we change this mindset?
First, start a food journal.
Eat as you normally would and write down everything you have. Do this for 2-3 weeks to establish your baseline. Be honest and keep it simple. I started mine by noting what I ate, the quantities, and the calories. As my goals evolved, I started tracking protein, sugar, fats, and fiber as well.
A food journal can be a notepad, a spreadsheet, or even a smartphone app; whatever is easiest for you!
Here is an example:
Hint: You can easily find nutrition information online, and, after a couple of weeks, you'll probably notice a lot of repetition. At that point, it becomes mostly copy and paste.
Why a food journal?
1. It's a great way to actually understand our eating habits and pinpoint easy opportunities for change.
2. Like our method of tracking our workouts, a food journal will help in monitoring our progress.
3. We can link effects of various types of food on our fitness goals and and overall health.
Here is where I invite you to begin your food journal. In upcoming posts, we will cover what to do when our nutritional baseline has been established.