Tracking your food isn't for everyone. It can be tedious, time-consuming, and overwhelming. It can also be eye-opening, effective, and purposeful for some. I personally tracked my food for several years on and off. I often felt overwhelmed by it, but I ignored those feelings and let it contribute to my disorderly eating. Once I overcame those disordered thoughts and habits, I was able to track my food as a way to see where I could improve. Looking at you, protein. Tracking objectively allowed me to get my protein where I needed it to be for my specific goals. Now that my goals are geared more toward what my body can do vs what it looks like, I don't track my food. I focus on habits and consuming food that will fuel me for my activities.
There's nothing wrong with tracking if you have a healthy relationship with food. Although, here are a few ways you can keep track of your eating habits and portions without relying on an app to remember how many calories are in the sauce you used with your meal. 1. Build your plate with a palm-sized portion of lean protein, a cupped-hand full of carbs, a fist-sized portion of vegetables, and a thumb-sized serving of fats. Example: salmon + rice + asparagus + Thai peanut sauce This keeps your portions in check without having to get numbers involved. 2. Set a goal of how many protein sources, vegetables, and fruits you'll consume per day. Example: 3 protein sources, 4 vegetables, and 2 fruits. 3. Get familiar with your hunger cues. Acknowledging your hunger cues can be challenging, especially since eating is often a social thing (with family or friends) or accompanied by a distraction (tv, phone, etc.). To get more in touch with your hunger cues, try to slow down your bites or put your fork down in between each bite. Another way is to eat your first plate, wait 20 minutes, and if you still feel like eating, then eat, if you don't, then don't. No form of tracking is perfect or a one size fits all, but bringing awareness to your habits and consumption can drastically change your preferred outcome.