Staying shredded during the Holidays: Why you should be logging your food

For me, it’s my mom’s Seven Layer Bars, or booze at holiday parties, or cookies in the office breakroom. We are all bombarded with sweets and other amazing goodies during this time of year – and it can be difficult to stay on whatever meal plan or diet you follow. Most gyms offer a “nutrition challenge”…at the start of the year. It becomes easier and easier to say “fuck it, I’m gonna get back on it after New Year’s. Or you could simply follow my advice and not derail your fitness because you are a weak-willed slob, your call.

Editor’s Note: If you eat “paleo”, skip this article. You’ll come around eventually and stop eating 250g of fat every day, but until you realize the folly of your ways, this article will be of no use to you. Bookmark it and when you want to start eating better and are tired of not being able to perform in the gym, come back and read it.

 They are still out there, eating a pound of bacon, real butter and no carbs, celebrating their "gluten-free" lifestyle.

They are still out there, eating a pound of bacon, real butter and no carbs, celebrating their "gluten-free" lifestyle.

One of the biggest hazards of the holiday food season, is simply having a bad day and gorging on sweets and letting that derail you completely for weeks or even months at a time. The whole idea of “dammit, I blew it, so I might as well just eat ALL THE SUGARS for the next three weeks,” is easy. What do we say about “easy” in wild/STRONG country? FUCK easy.

This is why counting your macros and logging everything you eat is so important. I went to three Christmas parties last week. I drank some booze at all three – but since I log all my macros, I simply logged the carbs for a set amount of alcoholic drinks for each of those days, and ate accordingly all day. I hit my carb numbers dead on all three nights. I didn’t come away with a sense of guilt, I didn’t let it derail me. I was craving ice cream over the weekend, so I logged two servings of Ben and Jerry’s at the start of the day, ate accordingly, and you guessed it, ate those two servings and hit my numbers spot on.

 wild/STRONG Founder, right, after counting his macros for 30 days

wild/STRONG Founder, right, after counting his macros for 30 days

People who log their macros get a reputation for eating donuts and ice cream, because those are the pictures they post on Instagram and hashtag #IIFYM (If it Fits Your Macros). What we don’t post is when we get off track and have to eat a dinner consisting a piece of bread and 16 servings of egg whites because all we have left on our numbers are carbs and protein and no fat (Fellow macro loggers, I know you know this struggle).

“But logging everything is too hard and I won’t stick to it.” This used to be a semi-valid reason for not logging. If you aren’t gonna stick to something, it’s worthless. Today however, we have technology as our friend. I’ve tried to log in the past and never stuck with it. With the apps available (I prefer the paid version of My Fitness Pal, but there are plenty of options out there) it is very easy. I have logged for 160 days in a row. The searchable content in the diary portion of the app makes it incredibly easy to find what you are eating and log the numbers. Once you have used it for even a week or so, logging the foods you eat often is even easier.

 wild/STRONG Founder, left, after logging for 85 days. Girlfriend to his left after logging for 115 days.

wild/STRONG Founder, left, after logging for 85 days. Girlfriend to his left after logging for 115 days.

I was introduced to logging my macros by my girlfriend when we first met. I was skeptical at first, and frustrated, as I realized all the “clean eating” I’d been doing was actually consuming about 2.5 times as much fat as I was supposed to be. Don’t get discouraged when you start – it’s a learning process. That first week is going to be hard as you realize that a lot of foods that people like Dr. Oz tell you are “good sources of protein” are actually good sources of fat, and a lot of it. Peanut Butter? Trail Mix, Nuts etc? Welcome to egg whites for dinner!

 You want arms like Dr. Oz? Be my guest. You want to be able to fill out a men's t-shirt properly? Start eating real sources of protein.

You want arms like Dr. Oz? Be my guest. You want to be able to fill out a men's t-shirt properly? Start eating real sources of protein.

Speaking of, this was the biggest aid in me hitting my numbers and learning how to make it through the day without going over. Liquid egg whites are cheap, fat free and high in protein. I add them to half my meals. I eat bacon, eggs and pancakes for dinner pretty much every night…but the “eggs” are usually maybe one egg and the rest whites, the bacon is center cut and lower in fat, the pancakes are Kodiak Protein Pancakes, the butter is yogurt butter and the syrup is sugar free (unless I have extra carbs, then I go with the real deal).

 Founder, center, after logging for 100 days. Reebok Crossfit Ironheart, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Founder, center, after logging for 100 days. Reebok Crossfit Ironheart, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

You’ll find what works for you and your numbers, what “fits” your macros. Get through the first couple weeks and you’ll realize how easy it is and how crazy it is that you haven’t been doing it for years. Not logging your food is simply foolish if you are an athlete of any kind. It is a complete crapshoot. Maybe you ate 100 g of protein, maybe you missed your carbs by 100 g, you have no idea because you aren’t logging. All you are left with is a shitty day at the gym that you can’t explain, because you probably didn’t eat enough or you ate way too much.

 Founder, left, pre-macro logging. Right, 90 days in.

Founder, left, pre-macro logging. Right, 90 days in.

I am in the best shape of my life and logging my macros is the reason why. Don’t wait until a date on the calendar to become a better version of yourself. Don’t let holiday parties and Christmas dinners ruin your fitness and derail your plans.

A better version of you can be had by counting some numbers and downloading an app. Why wouldn’t you do this? What is stopping you? Start logging and start seeing results.