The Benefits of Tracking My Daily Nutritional Habits, As Well As My Workouts

Nowadays, there seems to be so much talk about intentionality. Being intentional about commitments.

Being intentional in relationships. Being intentional about personal and professional development. If practically all aspects of life can dance to the tune of intentionality, why should eating habits and staying fit be left to impulses and vibes? What stops the average person from setting fitness goals and consciously working towards them?

The act of tracking one's daily nutritional habits and workout plans boils down to being intentional, being dedicated to attaining a highly desirable outcome. More often than not, weight loss is the ultimate outcome desired by most people who embark on food tracking and fitness journeys.

However, there is a lot more to these journeys than just weight loss. It may even be said that weight loss, in this context, is one of many 'symptoms' of whatever the highly desirable outcome may be for the person involved. It is very hard for these symptoms to not persist; a brief look at three answers the corresponding question of how.

Firstly, tracking of nutritional and fitness habits offers an individual a greater sense of clarity, control and self-discipline. By consciously taking honest note of the various food items consumed, the amounts consumed, the average eating times, the preferred eating locations and the prevalent moods during food consumption, an individual gains knowledge of the eating habits and preferences to retain or eliminate in order to be healthier. All in all, a food tracking diary or journal makes an individual aware of the deficits to attend to and the excesses to curb.

Directly building on clarity, food and fitness tracking speeds up the development process. By being exposed to the deeper long-term health implications of the food items consumed, adherence to the pointers of a food tracking diary or journal would ensure that an individual achieves his highly desirable outcome in a shorter period of time than anticipated.

Furthermore, the emergence of results traceable to the maintenance of a food and fitness tracking diary improves the self-esteem of the individual keeping track. This is purely psychological, as the individual would feel more confident in the process and more motivated to adopt healthier practices in general.

 How Do I Keep Track of Daily Food Intake?

There are broadly three major means by which you can keep track of daily food intake. As earlier indicated, this may be achieved through the aid of relatively old-fashioned manual food tracking journals, or through the more sophisticated means of either digital notetaking or food tracker applications/websites.

Most templates of manual food journals essentially seek to probe into the rationale behind an individual's food preferences, the amounts consumed, the average eating times, the preferred eating locations, and the prevalent moods during food consumption. Food tracker applications are structured similarly but are distinguished by their additional features and their ease of access. Some of the additional features include assessing the number of calories contained in each food item consumed by an individual, as well as the processing of pictures taken of food. For ease of access, which also applies to taking notes on digital devices, food tracker applications and websites are arguably easier to stick to, given that our smartphones and other gadgets are with us most of the time.

What Food Trackers Say About Eating Habits?

It is not surprising that food tracker applications are preferred over manual food tracking journals by many. This can be attributed to a handful of factors, but for one, food trackers in general (manual and applications) pass the message that there is more to our eating habits than meets the eye. The calories in each food item are highlighted and the larger consequences of our daily eating habits are more apparent.

In recent times, food tracker applications have also made it clear to users that there is more to food consumption than mere hunger, such that other factors come into play. For example, the Rise Up food tracker application seeks to draw a connection between people’s mental and emotional states and their food preferences. Overall, the applications in general attempt to assess whether a food choice is also motivated by specific emotions, the locations users frequently find themselves in or the time of day when users typically grab a bite. For full context, a food tracker application may conclude that the decision of a user who works evening shifts to binge on coffee and doughnuts between 9 and 10pm every day is motivated by both hunger and stress. 

Nutritional Habits and Workouts

One of the most popular nutritional habits traceable to food tracking applications is the practice of eating to be satisfied and not full. This is because we eat more than we think. A corollary of this habit is the conscious reduction of calorie consumption and by extension, junk food consumption.

Another nutritional habit typical of food tracking applications is goal setting. Users are encouraged to set nutritional goals /fitness plans and the applications keep them in check at every step of the way. The idea behind bespoke nutrition/fitness plans being an option is that users would be more disposed to working at their own pace.

Nutritional habits and workouts largely go hand in hand. From dumbbell lifting to treadmill running, it is not surprising for users of food tracker applications to go the extra mile in the fulfilment of their fitness goals. Physical workouts form part of the self-discipline instilled by the applications, which speed up the process and as such, food tracker applications could as well be regarded as one of the steppingstones or precursors to workout habits.

It must also be added that when users of these applications work out, especially in line with a fitness plan, the activity releases positive endorphins into the brain, which motivate the person in question to keep up with the activity. It is easier for such person to genuinely believe that a development process is ongoing, and the person's self-esteem also increases.

Best Food Tracker Apps

Food tracker applications are anything but in short supply. It is almost impossible to not find one which fits, based on their creative approaches and emphasis on distinct aspects of the subject matter. In no particular order, here is a list of ten leading food tracker applications:

- MyFitnessPal

MyFitnessPal boasts of an impressive array of features. Its database of two million food items is one of the highest ranking among food tracker applications. For users looking to lose weight, MyFitnessPal aids the process by keeping them on track, following the provision of details such as the planned workout regimen and the proposed number of pounds to be lost weekly.

- Fitocracy Macros (iOS)

This tracker application places special emphasis on macronutrients. It enables an individual to track their input of carbohydrates, proteins, and fat macronutrients, coupled with one's consumption of calories.

- Fooducate (iOS, Android)

Fooducate is majorly tailored towards foods found in supermarket - buoyed by a database of over three hundred thousand food items. Following a barcode scan, users can receive breakdowns of various food components, from trans fats to preservatives.

- Rise Up (iOS, Android)

Rise Up approaches food tracking from a psychological point of view. It sets out to plot patterns based on the emotional state of users at various mealtimes or instances of food consumption, with the additional option of adding the location and companions present.

- Calorie Counter Pro (iOS, Android)

With a database of over two million food items, Calorie Counter Pro eases the logging of food intake, as well as the tracking of calories and consumption habits. The application also doubles as an exercise log.

- Lifesum (iOS, Android)

Lifesum boasts of impressive features such as daily reports on tracked food, a barcode scanner to facilitate logging, multiple fitness plans for users and recommendations based on the fitness goals of users. It also includes a wide range of recipes and meal plans, meaning that users can scarcely miss out on an optimal experience.

- See How You Eat (iOS, Android)

This application leans heavily towards the photo-taking aspect, such that a user can take a maximum of twelve photos of food consumed in a day as opposed to typing a daily meal log. It is arguably one of the easiest food tracking applications to use.

- Nutrients (iOS)

Living up to its new name, the application enables users to key in recipes and receive a breakdown of their relevant nutritional content almost immediately. All in all, its database contains nutritional information for a wide range of meals and ingredients.

- MyPlate (iOS, Android)

Part of MyPlate's unique features is the option for users to set goals, keep track of the calories consumed daily, as well as the ease of identification of food items by way of photo taking and barcode scanning. It has a nutritional database of two million food items. Users of the application can also generate graphs and charts to aid the assessment of food habits.

- YouAte (iOS)

Like the application name implies, YouAte seeks to identify the rationale behind a user's choice of a meal. It works in line with a diet plan, such that when users take photos of their meals, they must indicate whether the meal is in line with the diet plan or not. It also gives users the opportunity to add notes.