The Pro’s and Con’s of Measuring Your Food
Every so often, we have SWS members come to us, asking for nutritional advice. Before I get into things, let me just make a note that I am in no way shape or form a qualified/certified nutritionist, but I make it a big priority in my life, and I myself have worked with a professional who has helped me get my own nutrition dialed in. So these are just some of my experiences with weighing and measuring my food.
The reason I got into measuring my food, and taking my nutrition seriously, was when I decided I wanted to take my fitness journey ‘up a notch’.
I had no idea where to start, and Nathan had recommended I contact a company now called Driven Performance Labs. The CEO, Mike Kesthely, had worked with Nathan’s coach in the past, so that’s who I got a hold of. When I started working with him, the first thing I realized was that I was going to have to buy a scale and start weighing everything I ate (groan). I thought to myself, “this is going to be such a hassle/time waster/hard work. Which honestly it was in the beginning, because it is a lifestyle change, and we all know how we like our daily routines.
Here are some of the pro’s and con’s I have ran into along the way:
PRO: Provides you a measure
If I asked you how many grams of protein you ate in a day, it would be pretty difficult to estimate the amount off the top of your head. Measuring allows you to be as accurate as possible. Especially if you have a certain set of macronutrients that you are required to eat in a day.
It allows you to evaluate your weight/progress/performance eating ‘X’ amount of macros, and if any changes are required.
Let’s face it, tracking food everyday can be stressful, confusing and can demotivate you at times.
Of course you do not want to be tracking every day for the rest of your life, but even for short periods of time it can be too much of a requirement for some.
It can be especially stressful when you don’t have control over the cooking or buying of the food. Times like this should not be stressful but for some it takes a while to realize social events and eating out is not a stressful event.
Without measuring, you simply don’t have the knowledge of calories, macronutrients, food quality, etc, etc.
Many people don’t realize how much fat is in a caramel frappuccino from Starbucks or how much protein is in a chicken breast. Counting macros and looking at the nutritional labels educates you on food quality, along with macronutrient (pro/fat/carbs) content.
This leads to people underestimating their macro intake when not tracking.
Many people are simply not eating the required protein amount for their goals, so measuring can let you know exactly how much you need.
Therefore weighing your food over time will give you a solid idea of what 100g of chicken breast looks like, how much protein it contains.
CON: Too focused on macros and not food quality
When someone starts to focus on hitting numbers, they can sometimes get caught up in trying to factor in all their favourite ‘junk’ food and forget about food quality.
I’m not saying you’re not allowed to do this, when I want to have somewhat of a ‘cheat meal’, I will try my best to fit it into my macros for the day. But you don’t want to make it a habit of swapping out an apple for a bowl of chips every day just because it would give you the same amount of carbohydrates needed.
PRO: The more you do it, the easier it becomes
These days, there is an app for everything, and that is the case for food measurement. The app that Nathan and I use is called Fat Secret, and so far, this is the easiest to navigate. Anything with a barcode you can scan, and the proper macros will show up that match what’s on the box, if not, you can easily manually enter it, this just takes a little more time. The more you use this app, the more your ‘recently eaten food’ will pop up, making it easy to just click on something you eat regularly. It also comes in handy if you are eating at a popular chain restaurant. You can search the restaurant and the menu, to see what the macronutrients of any dish is.
I’m not telling you guys that measuring all of your food is absolutely needed to reach your health/fitness goals, but it was the turning point in my own fitness journey. Actually realizing what I was putting into my body, and learning consistency is one of the only things that will get you results. Even if you try it for a week, it may have you realizing some things you may want to change, or just simply realizing what you are actually eating. Not even necessarily weighing and measuring, but simply recording what you eat in a day, can help immensely!