Getting started with nutrition tracking can be helpful as you work to lose weight or improve health, such as lower risk for diabetes.
Research described in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has shown that self-monitoring practices, such as tracking what you eat, can support weight loss. Since it can be so important in your success but can be challenging to get started, here are some tips for how to get started on tracking what you eat.
1. Be honest
Reasons for tracking what you eat include knowing how it compares to recommended intake, seeing trends over time, finding out what works and what does not when it comes to your weight loss, and increasing your accountability.
These can only happen if you are completely honest about what you eat. This is just between you and your nutrition tracker, who, in the case of Lark, is a compassionate digital coach who cares about you and your wellbeing.
2. Track everything
Nutrition tracking works best if you track everything you eat. That includes drinks, condiments, and ingredients used in cooking. The more detail you provide, the better. So, instead of logging “peanut butter sandwich,” you may get more out of your efforts if you log, “sandwich with peanut butter and banana on a whole-grain bagel with water to drink.”
3. Make it a habit
Logging what you ate and drank right after the meal is ideal because it gives you the best chance of remembering everything you had and how much. Otherwise, it can work to log at the same time each day, such as in the evening after dinner. Once it becomes a habit, you are more likely to remember to log without really thinking about it.
4. Make it easy
You are more likely to keep up with any habit if it is easy, so choose a way to track that is easy for you. Some people may prefer to use pen and paper to jot down what they ate, but most people may do better with a smartphone since it is always on them.
If you are using a nutrition tracking app, it can be best to find one that has an intuitive interface so entering foods is not a burden. Some, such as Lark, make it easier by remembering your commonly eaten foods so you can log them more quickly.
5. Do not limit yourself to calorie counting
Calorie counters have their place, but nutrition trackers provide an extra dimension. They also consider the nutritional or health value of different foods to guide you towards an overall healthier diet, which can be better for weight loss over time.
Plus, focusing on a variety of dietary factors can reduce the tendency to obsess over calorie contents of foods to the exclusion of other important factors.
6. Don’t stress
There is no need to stress about every bite and nutrient. The biggest thing is that you started with nutrition tracking, and the details are less important. Lark recognizes the importance of the big picture when it provides instant feedback on only one or two items rather than everything you ate, so that you are not overwhelmed.
At the same time, Lark tracks everything so you can see it in your logging history.
7. Learn to be patient
It takes time to change eating habits, lose weight, and see improvements in health. A good idea when you start tracking your food intake is to focus on changing one or two habits at a time, such as including more vegetables or selecting whole instead of refined grain products regularly.
Over time, you can incorporate more healthy changes, and eventually see good results.
Eating healthier and losing weight are some of the most important steps you can take for your health, and nutrition tracking can help. Tracking your foods and beverages can hold you accountable with your good intentions and make sure you know exactly what you are eating and how much.
A good nutrition tracker can fit right into your lifestyle without weighing you down, and it is not hard to find one. Lark offers intuitive tracking features, such as recognizing favorite foods and keeping a history of your choices. Plus, Lark’s nutrition coaching includes instant feedback to celebrate the good choices you made and guide you towards any possible improvements next time.
Lark’s nutrition tracking is part of the entire coaching program for weight loss and improved health. The program may be available to you at no cost if your health insurer participates! Click here to find out if you may be eligible for Lark. You could be minutes away from taking the first steps to hitting your weight loss goals and improving health.
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