Weight loss does not happen overnight, it takes time and effort. A single cheat meal won’t make you gain weight, in a similar way that a single healthy meal won’t make you lose weight.
I started logging my meals a few years ago using the My Fitness Pal app, and I would feel very happy if I stuck to the 1500 or 1600 calories I was supposed to eat every day. But the truth is, I never lost any weight during those years. The main reason being, my diet consisted of all the wrong foods – loads of sugar and sugary treats, processed foods and white rice/white bread almost every day. However, once I educated myself about the right nutrition, tracking my meals has been one of the most important tools I used to lose 40 pounds and I have stuck to it till today.
Benefits of logging meals :
1. Keeps you accountable : When you are not mindful of what you eat, chances are you will consume excess food than what your body actually requires. This is where logging meals comes in handy – it keeps you accountable. Seeing that five oreos consist of nearly 250 calories can surely make you stop eating a full packet at a single sitting.
2. Tracks your progress : Logging meals helps you stay on track, especially when you are starting a new diet or healthy eating lifestyle. Seeing all the entries in your food journal gives you a sense of accomplishment and motivation to stick to your goals.
Disadvantage of logging meals :
Drives you nuts : Logging meals is a pain when you start overthinking about every piece of cake you eat, or every time you consume food in excess of your daily calorie limit. It somehow ends up making you obsessed about eating healthy foods all the time, which can lead to stress and anxiety, which in turn can lead to weight gain.
The solution :
I track my meals diligently on most days, but to avoid going crazy on days when I have a cheat meal, I skip logging my meals on that day. This is something which has helped me tremendously as I don’t feel guilty or sad after the binging. It’s true that you can’t out-exercise a bad diet, but you sure can indulge your cravings every once in awhile, without going biserk.
P.S. All calories are not the same, hence, tracking macronutrients is wiser than tracking calories. Calories from a huge bowl of salad and a packet of oreos is almost the same, yet the salad provides more nutrition to the body. However, tracking macronutrients is tougher and more time consuming. I tried tracking macronutrients for a month, but it got too cumbersome, so I stuck to logging my meals and calories alone. In the end all that matters is that you stick to a healthy diet and avoid processed foods as much as possible. Be consistent and you’ll see results in no time.
Thank you for reading! Stay blessed!