Of the people that struggle with weight loss, the majority don’t understand why they can’t lose weight. That same majority is also unaware of the amount of calories they consume in one day. When you break it down, weight loss is pretty simple. Unless of course, you don’t know how many calories you are consuming to begin with, then you don’t have a starting point.
If you know how many calories you consume in a day, you can take that number, subtract the amount of calories you burn in a day, and you’re left with your net calories. 3500 calories is equivalent to 1 lb. of weight. So if you are trying to lose 1 lb. per week, you would need to cut 500 calories per day from your diet, or burn 500 additional calories.
So as we kick off the Biggest Achiever Program, my challenge to you this week is to figure out how many calories you consume. How many calories are in your favorite foods? How many calories do you consume in one day? By tracking the nutritional information in your food, you will also be able to see how much fat, sugar, protein, salt, etc. you are consuming. It’s possible that you need to limit your intake of sodium or fats, but how would you know, if you don’t know what you’re consuming in the first place?
Regardless if you have goals to lose weight on this three month program or not, I think it’s essential that you know what you’re eating. We’ll get further into ingredients, chemicals, additives and preservatives later, right now we’ll focus on the nutritional content, or lack there of, of the foods we currently consume.
Your challenge this week is to keep a food journal, logging the nutritional information of everything you eat, drink and chew. At a minimum, you should write down everything you put in your body, from glasses of water per day, to gum, to soda, to snacks and meals for one full weekday and one full weekend day. Since what you eat might vary based on where you are, I think it’s important to complete a food journal for one day at the office and one day at home. Tracking this information for 2 days out of 7 is the minimum you should do. This information will be key as you progress throughout this program, so be sure to be accurate. It will do you more harm than good to lie in this journal. Be true to yourself, it is the only way you can truly make progress. If you intentionally leave items consumed off the list… I don’t think you can expect yourself to be successful. Also, the more you track, the better. So if you can, track all of your food every single day this week. Is it time consuming? Maybe a little. But it’s one week of your life, it’s not that much time in the grand scheme of things and it will be eye-opening, regardless of your health/fitness level.
Although this is a week long challenge, I encourage you to track your food throughout the entire program. For those of you that exercise, I encourage you to track this as well! For the past several years, I have been using an online program (there’s also an app for your phone) called myfitnesspal.com. It’s free, easy to follow, has a ton of great tools and when you track your calories, many popular foods are already loaded into the system, reducing the amount of time you’ll spend looking up that information! Bonus! You can set weight loss goals, health goals and much more. They’ll even develop graphs for you to visually chart your progress, which aids in motivation. If you’d like to follow me, my username is megalitz. I too, have health and fitness goals I plan on achieving in the next three months! I encourage you to join, and keep me accountable as well! The more support we have, the better we will do!
I look forward to hearing about what you learned from your food journal. What did you find most shocking? Did you formulate any new goals from what you learned by analyzing what you put in your body? Was it the calorie count or sugar content in one specific item? Or maybe you realized you consume more snacks than you initially thought. MyFitnessPal.com allows you to create six different food categories for easy logging. Mine are breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, beverages and treats. I find these categories helpful, and you might too. It’s interesting to see how many of your daily calories can come from things you drink and not actual meals! Time to cut sodas (hint, hint)!
I look forward to meeting with you all on Friday, and for those of you who are following along online, feel free to leave your thoughts, findings and comments below!
Peace, love and knowledge,
For more on the Biggest Achiever Program, click here!