Successful food logging relies on consistency and accuracy.
So, what makes a good food logging effort?
First, a plan. Simply logging what you eat and do has its intrinsic benefits. But we believe logging is best used as part of a process of tracking, analyzing and adapting. That is, a deliberate cycle of performing some planned (mostly) behaviors, taking a look at the results, then switching things up and repeating.
We say "mostly" because, well, life happens. You are going to have to eat something at a time you hadn't planned. Or miss an exercise session because of a work thing. So don't stress a glitch here or there.
What you eat, how much--Keep track of what is on your plate. Chicken, sure. But was it baked chicken or fried? And how much. You can use servings to keep track of standard sizes that you define. Servings are a good proxy for how much you are eating without counting calories, a difficult task with marginal value to the big picture results. Don't forget any medications.
When you eat--what time of day did you eat each item. This doesn't have to be down to the second. Break the day into sections from morning to afternoon, evening, night, and midnight snacking (hopefully, not often in that last category!). This will give you enough distinction to see, for example, what you can and can't eat at night to meet your goal.
What you do--activities make a difference. Record your workouts and general level of activity. Maybe your day is sometimes at the desk for 8 hours. Other days, you're out "in the field" and organically doing more walking and standing.
How you sleep--this is an easy one to miss. And it cuts both ways. Sleep hours and quality affect eating directly and indirectly. Eating and activity effect your sleep duration and quality. If you log your sleep time and quality, you can draw conclusions about these two-way effects.
Did you fast--Fasting isn't fun, even when you've acclimated. One thing you want to do is optimize the fast window, so you don't go beyond the point of diminishing returns. Experiment with fast time to see where it stops producing benefits. No point in fasting longer than useful.
Track your metrics--think beyond weight. Maybe you are trying to reduce blood pressure, control IBS symptoms, reduce migraine incidents. Tracking when, what, how much you ate and which activities you do lets you correlate specific actions with specific results.
Track, then analyze, then adapt your plan based on the data and results. Tha. But we believe logging is best used as part of a process of tracking, analyzing, and adapting. That is, a deliberate cycle of performing some planned (mostly) behaviors, taking a look at the results, then switching things up and repeating.