No matter what your reason for tracking calories/macros, if you’re going to do it then it’s important to be as accurate as possible if you want to understand the changes happening to your body. Whether you are trying to lose body fat, gain muscle, or maintain your weight, these tips will help to track like a pro!
1. Get a set of digital kitchen scales:
Your kitchen scales don’t have to be expensive but they will make a huge difference to your results. You might think you are decent at eyeballing portion sizes or guessing quantities but I can promise you that you aren’t as good as you think. Guessing quantities when tracking can leave you hundreds, if not thousands of calories out per day: if it’s on the over-consuming side then more than likely that’s your calorie deficit gone. Through weighing and measuring food you will learn a lot more about portion sizes and the calories/macros in food - you may not need to do this forever, but being accurate with measuring foods can be a big learning curve!
2. Track as you go through the day:
Where possible it is best to track your daily intake as you go along rather than getting to the end of a day/week and having to recall everything. It gets hard to remember what you’ve eaten and more often than not things get forgotten about and therefore not accounted for. You can think your tracking has been accurate but those little extras that you've forgotten about could be what ends up stalling your results. It's important that we don't forget the little things like milky coffees, sauces and oils - when recalling these are the things that are likely to be left out.
3. Plan in advance:
You don’t have to only use MyFitnessPal as a food diary, you can use it for planning by entering your day in advance. This method means you’re more likely to hit your targets as you can plan what to have before you have consumed anything so can make changes where necessary. Adding things into Myfitnesspal isn't permanent, you can delete things if your day didn't go quite to plan, but this is a really good tool for learning what a good day might look like for you. If on Sunday night you enter what you plan to eat on Monday, you can see how that lines up with your calorie and macro target then adjust where you need to to get as close as possible.
4. Get familiar with the app:
The more you use MyFitnessPal the easier it becomes; you can use the scanner, create meals, create recipes, and the app will start to recognise and suggest the things you use regularly. You can add your weight in as often as you like as well as pictures and exercise, everything you need to reflect on when considering your progress. You can also add people as friends and share you diary, so if you want a little extra accountability, let the world in on what you're tracking!
5. Be honest and record everything:
If you have someone/a coach looking over your data in MyFitnessPal then there is absolutely no point in making stuff up or not being completely truthful. Your coach won't expect a perfect diary, we're all human, so just be completely honest with what you're recording otherwise you'll make it extremely difficult for someone to understand your results vs your diary. Track every bite as you go along where possible, make sure nothing gets missed, alcohol too!
6. Don’t discount drinks, sauces, oils:
You need to be tracking EVERYTHING that contains calories which means let’s not go forgetting about the oils you’re cooking in, the sauces you’re using, or what you’re drinking. Anything with calories needs to be entered into your diary and these things can be super high in calories. If you're trying to lose body fat we need to make sure that you're in a consistent calorie deficit, if you're training to gain muscle we need you to be in a calorie surplus - if we don't have an accurate account of the calories that are going it, it makes planning/adjustments very difficult!
So, they're our top tips at The Nutrition Plan for making the most out of tracking your daily calorie/macronutrient intake. If there's anything you'd add to this list of vitals, let us know! If not, good luck tracking!