Tracking what you eat is an important form of self-monitoring that can support you in reaching your health goals. By reflecting on our patterns around food, we can learn so much.
Whether you’re a seasoned tracker or just getting started, here are some top questions and answers to help set you up for success.
How often should I track what I eat?
- Aim to add food at least five days per week.
- The more you track, the more mindful you are about what you’re eating and why.
- Research shows this improves health and weight-loss outcomes.
What is the value of tracking what I eat?
- Raises self-awareness around how, when, why and where you eat. This allows you to see patterns in your eating habits.
- Increases accountability by helping you learn from the choices you’ve made.
- Monitors your progress toward a goal and motivates you to keep going.
- Helps you learn more about how food affects your blood sugar, if you have diabetes.
- Provides expert coaches with information that can help them give you more personalized tips during 1:1 coaching sessions.
What should I be tracking?
You’ll be prompted to track:
- What you eat. Add the specific foods and drinks you consume—plus, details like how the meal was prepared (baked, boiled, fried, etc.). Don’t forget to include condiments, dressings, sauces and toppings.
- How much you eat. List portion sizes for each food item. Use measuring cups, a food scale or your hand measurements for reference.
- When you eat. Take note of the times you eat. This can be helpful in identifying long periods between meals or your most challenging times.
- You can also add notes to track things like:
- How you feel. Are you feeling happy, sad, anxious, stressed, bored, tired or lonely while eating this food?
- Where you eat. Are you eating this meal at the kitchen table, in front of the TV or computer, walking around the house, in your bedroom, at a friend’s house or at a restaurant?
- Who you eat with. Are you eating alone, with your spouse/partner, children, friend or colleague?
Considering these factors can help you become a more mindful eater.
How can I successfully track what I eat?
- Track what you eat and drink as you consume them. Don’t wait until the end of the day, when you’re more likely to forget details.
- Add foods before you eat them. This can help set your intention for the day.
- Be as specific as you can. Using the app’s food feature lets you choose foods from a large database. This allows you to easily track calories, macronutrients and your sodium and potassium intake.
- Set reminders throughout the day. This can help you prioritize food tracking and keep you accountable.
- Don’t skip those challenging days or meals. They can provide valuable insights into your eating habits.
- Focus on one time of the day until it feels easy. Then, add more meals and/or days.
- Find small wins in your food choices every day. And celebrate them!
Whether you’re using an app, a written log or another method, find what works for you and stick with it. Food tracking is a valuable tool that raises self-awareness of and accountability for food choices and can help guide you to your personal health goals.
Need extra support? We’re here!
Schedule a coaching session with one of our expert coaches. They can work with you to set goals, identify habits and find ways to help you grow.