Why tracking calories won't work
Posted on 10th March 2020 at 14:25
Tracking calories and using My Fitness Pal does not guarantee results. Check out this blog to see why.
I think smart phones are the best and worse invention of the modern day. They offer such great technology and personally they help me run my business but there is no doubt that many people spend too much time on them.
However investing time into using apps like My Fitness Pal is in my opinion a good idea.
I have used My Fitness Pal both personally and with clients for many years. It really is a useful tool to help monitor and assess calorie intake. But like anything it’s only useful when used correctly.
It's always funny when people feedback on how many calories they claim they eat.
'Oh I don't really eat much'.
'I only eat around 1000 calories a day'.
Do you though?
At the end of the day if you have a decent amount of body fat then you have overeaten for what your body needs for a considerable period of time.
There are no if’s or buts.
Calories don’t just appear from thin air and you can’t put on body fat without being in a calorie surplus.
Also just because you track your calories doesn’t mean you will necessarily lose body fat.
In this blog I want to share three reasons why tracking calories doesn't work and three mistakes you may have or maybe making.
The first mistake people make when using My Fitness Pal is miss reporting calorie intake.
I will be honest it’s one of the biggest things I have to be on point with when working with clients.
I can set them up on a perfect training plan and calorie targets which will allow them to see great results but it means nothing if they are not being accurate.
The balance comes from trying to pry out the right information from them in the right way.
I can’t just say “you’re lying to me”.
Instead we go through their diet together and really assess what they are eating honestly and openly.
To show how easily it can be to mis report calorie intake I will tell you what happened two weeks ago when I went over a diet re call with a client.
His diet was very carbohydrate heavy with very little protein but overall the calories were pretty moderate. I then asked if there was anything else he eats on a daily basis.
He said no.
However after a few seconds he mentioned he sometimes has a handful of cashew nuts most days and maybe a chocolate bar if he's out and about. So potentially another 500-600 calories a day.
Yet he only mentioned this after I really probed him.
It can be really easy to often lie to yourself or under report calorie intake. Whether this is deliberate or not it happens.
Understand if you're going to track calories you need to track pretty much everything.
If you eaten it you've eaten it.
Whether you add into My Fitness Pal or not your body will be ingesting those calories. So for the purpose of using My Fitness Pal properly and accurately you need to try and track everything you eat (bar things like salad leafs, diet drinks or 1 cal cooking sprays).
Another issue I see with My Fitness Pal is people not using the right values for foods that they haven’t prepared such as a takeaway or a hot meal at work. First of all let me assure you can eat these meals and achieve your goals but you need to make sure you don’t kid yourself.
What I mean is if you have a chicken curry at work and then type into My Fitness Pal to track it but choose the lowest calorie option then you aren’t really going to be that accurate with your true calorie intake.
If you are trying to lose body fat then always overestimate calorie values.
If you are gaining muscle and looking to gain weight then underestimate.
Don’t kid yourself when you think a curry with rice, meat, sauce and naan bread was only 400 calories. Look at all the values that come up and choose one in the higher calorie range.
You will never be bang on but do yourself a favour and just over egg it so if anything you may be in a bigger calorie deficit than you first thought. This will allow you to see faster results which is defiantly not a bad thing.
The last mistake you need to be aware of trying to avoid is choosing the wrong servings for things you scan with the barcode.
I have clients who have eaten a whole 80g bag of popcorn and were so thrilled as when they scanned the bag the serving said it was only 100 calories. Yet what they didn’t realise was that the whole 80g bag contains five servings and therefore they have under reported by 400 calories.
You really need to be a bit diligent here that the serving you have is the same that is listed or if you have more you edit this on the app.
Again only a small thing but one you need to be aware of so you can get your calorie numbers on point and ensure they are a true reflection of what you’re currently eating.
My Fitness Pal and tracking calories is something that I would defiantly recommend if you are serious about achieving your goals.
However make sure that if you decide to do so you understand why it works and why it might not work.
Be in the right headspace to use it, understand you need to be 100% honest and accuracy is key.
Finally I will be running a FREE 7 day nutrition and training challenge in early April where I will be going over things like tracking calories, diet hacks and providing FREE documents such as training plans and food swaps.
To register your interest HIT THIS LINK.
Tagged as: Nutrition
Share this post: