Five Reasons to Keep a Food Log

Updated: Jan 16, 2019

There is no doubt that logging food can be tedious and overwhelming. The thought of searching for food in the database, finding the portion size, and entering it all can definitely be a turn off to many people.

So, why should you do it?

What is the benefit if you are eating a well-balanced diet?

"I didn’t track because I am embarrassed I ate it..."

1. Accountability to yourself

Logging your food makes you accountable. There is no more discounting the soda you drank with your healthy salad, or not remembering five 'Fun Size Snickers' you had at the staff meeting (stop bringing in your kid’s old candy, Susan! Not cool!). If you eat it, it goes into your log. It forces you to be totally real about what is going in your mouth. I know that can be scary. It isn’t easy to look at our shortcomings in writing, but we can’t change it, if we don’t admit it. You are worth the time and truth this takes!

2. Your coach can look for holes in your diet

When you sign-up with a nutrition coach, you are asking for help with your nutrition. For that help to the most beneficial, your coach needs to see what you are eating. There needs to be a full-picture of what you’re eating, in order to make suggestions to improve your diet. If you don’t log, then your coach can’t make any decisions for changes to your nutrition plan. The goal is to be able to eat the most amount of healthy food while still meeting your goals. For this to work, your coach needs all of the information.

...a majority of your foods need to be nutrient dense...

3. Find your source of calories

When you log, you can see if your calories are really coming from the kinds of foods you want them to. Would you be happy if you child or aging parent were eating the foods you are? Science has proven that we can lose weight by eating garbage. It only takes a calorie deficit to make that happen. However, are your food choices sustainable and healthy? If you want to make your diet serve you for the long haul, a majority of your foods need to be nutrient dense. Seeing it all in writing, allows you to really look at your macros, and calories, and decide if those are the foods you want to be eating to fuel your body.

4. You can balance your macros nutrients

This is probably what most people think of (second to calories) when they think of tracking food in MyFitnessPal (MFP). Macros are great because they allow us to “balance” the food we eat. We don’t want an an “all-fat” or “all-carb” diet. Our bodies run best when they are fueled with a variety of nutrient-dense foods. By logging our food, we can see if you are hitting the macro goal, assigned by your coach. If you are struggling to hit certain macros, your coach can make suggestions about what foods to add in, or eliminate to make hitting that goal easier.

5. You can see your micros nutrients

As you become more proficient at tracking and balancing your macros, the next step is to begin examining your micros. These are things like, iron, potassium, sodium, etc. When you first begin tracking, we do not focus on this too much. However, if we really want to create the best whole food diet for you, we need to look at the nutrient quality of your food, as well. Tracking in MFP, gives you access to a report that shows your micro goal intake. It is quite the eye-opening tool. I still am struggling to get some of my micros in place, but it’s great to be in a place where that is a priority in my diet. In order to truly reap the benefits of a balanced diet, we want to make sure that our micros are on target, as well.

Are there times when you shouldn’t track?

If you are taking a night to celebrate a special event, then don’t track. Enjoy yourself! Consistency is key and one meal will not undo weeks, or months, of progress.

So, are there times when you shouldn’t track? YES, absolutely! If you are taking a night to celebrate a special event, then don’t track. Enjoy yourself! Consistency is key and one meal will not undo weeks, or months, of progress. However, choose those events wisely. A night here or there is not a deal breaker. Two nights every weekend IS! You can easily eliminate your entire week’s caloric deficit in a couple of high-calorie meals. So be thoughtful about your food choices as you plan for special events.

Coaching comes with zero judgement!

So, now that we have looked at all of the benefits of why it’s great to track our food, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. I didn’t track something because I am embarrassed I ate it (or all of it). Here’s the deal…I know you have struggled with certain foods, or food portions. I get it! Remember, I started my journey at 222 pounds. But, for me to most effectively help you, you need to be real. My coaching comes with zero judgement! I know the struggle! In order to get the best coaching from me, you need to be honest with us both. Track the food and so I can help you feel your best!

I hope this helps explain why it’s important to log your food. The information that MFP provides is really the best way for your coach to create a workable, customized plan. The more you do it, the easier it gets! Eventually, you won’t need to log your food, at all. It’s a tool that helps you and your coach achieve your goals.

Ready to begin working with an online nutrition coach? Check out and get started TODAY!

Stefanie is ready to help you reach your nutrition and health goals!

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