If you thought this post was about donuts I tricked you. But we’ll come back to that. You may or may not have heard these phrases. If you haven’t, you’re in luck today. Get ready for some wisdom.
“What gets measured, gets managed.” - Peter Drucker
“If you’re not assessing, you’re guessing.” - an article I read several months back on Precision Nutrition that I can’t seem to locate at the moment.
Simple, right? Yes, but I'm always amazed that most people don’t realize this little tip is often the one thing that is holding them back from hitting their goals. Most of us sprinted into the new year with the best of intentions. Intention setting is important and valuable. But it’s really hard to stick with our plan or even change our plan if we don’t know how we’re getting there and if it’s even working.
I am not one for restriction and obsessive calorie counting and lunacy so don’t read that last paragraph wrong. In fact, goals can change and so can intentions - they don’t have to be written in stone. But writing them down is important, making a plan even more so, and checking in to see how it’s serving you, perhaps the most important piece of them all. I could go on and on about strength program design but I’m going to save that for another post. I’ll leave this one to those of you coaching clients on changing their eating habits or those of you working to change your own eating habits.
I always tell people working with me, I can’t comment on your nutrition if you’re not willing to record your food intake at least for a little while so we can talk about what’s going on. This can turn people off. But most of us underestimate our portions, forget about that donut we ate here or there, and generally like to report “I eat well, I can't figure out why I'm not hitting X goal”. What does, "I eat well" even mean? Teaching people to self monitor and hold themselves accountable is a huge piece along the successful road to behavior change that sticks.
I’m kinda obsessed with the YouFood App right now. It’s IOS and Android friendly, free, and pretty neat. Formerly called “Two Grand” (I can’t say I’m sure why?) you can find more info about it here. It works sort of like Instagram for food. I have an account for example, named @MariaBascetta. My coaching clients can find me and follow me. I can then follow them back and instantly see their profile and posts. Instead of tediously hand logging every meal, it allows us to take pictures of our meals and snacks, upload them and carry on. I can set goals on the app, follow groups, make boards like pinterest of meals I like, etc. It even sends me a reminder to do my daily journaling if I ask it to.
Yes, there are others apps. And I'm not getting paid to endorse YouFood. MyFitnessPal really turns me off because it’s about counting calories. Don’t get me started but most people don’t need to do that. Forbes did a list a couple years back on the top apps for eating healthy. None of these really got my attention. But do check some others out and leave a comment below if you have a system that’s working for you.
As a coach that really cares about the people I’m helping, the YouFood route has saved me time and given me insight into the eating habits of those I’m working with. Our habits and our regular behaviors that we stick to 80-90% of the time are the ones that build the foundation for our health. Diets suck and so does restriction and so do the people that tell us their way is the only way. It’s not. We’re all different. But we all need to monitor our actions if we want to change them and build new ones. Go ahead and follow me on Youfood. You might see a donut on there once in a great while - but that’s ok because the rest of the time it looks pretty damn good for me and my goals.