136 weeks. That’s how long I kept a food diary for. Over two years. Just a few months off three. I started it to keep track of what I ate, and I just never stopped.
The pros? It helped me see what I was eating and stopped me from going off plan: if you have to write down you’ve had a donut and three chocolate bars, it kind of puts you off doing it in the first place.
It also helped me to track cheat days: I’d keep a note and set myself certain goals depending on what I was doing that week, allowing myself a whole cheat day, or a couple of cheat meals.
The cons? It’s repetitive. It’s slightly ovsessive. And in the end, it just became pointless. I got to the stage where at least, for four days a week, I was prepping my meals and snacks. So I knew what I was eating and that I wouldn’t go off track. I was doing it for the sake of doing it, and that’s where I knew I needed to stop.
I think a lot of things can become obsessive in fitness, and this is one of them. I think when something becomes so ingrained in your daily life it can become normal, and that can in turn become dangerous when you’re so obsessive about this particular lifestyle.
Don’t get me wrong: tracking isn’t bad at all, if you’re doing it for the right reasons. But I realised I was doing it for the sake of it and nothing more. It wasn’t helping and it just became a pointless task. It became too structured. What’s the point in receding cheat days when I doesn’t even really matter? When your days are so structured anyway that you don’t need to plan even more?
Maybe one day I’ll go back to tracking again – I’ve never tracked macros either, only food – but for now in enjoying not slacking over a list writing down every litre of water I had in a day…