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Diets are familiar to us all. At any given moment, we find ourselves bombarded by new and easy ways to lose weight quickly, fix health problems, or increase athletic performance. Simply Google “list of diets” or “best diets to try,” and options abound, all promising the results we crave. According to research commissioned by Love Fresh Berries, a 2019 survey of 2,000 British citizens found “that the average adult will try an unbelievable 126 fad diets over the course of their lifetime. That means at least two new diets each and every year.”

It’s difficult for an average person to decide which diet or lifestyle to pick, but what about an athlete? Athletes have particular goals and needs and must be in excellent psychical shape to be at the top of their game. So, what should they do? Where should they start? According to former college wrestler Mack Lewnes, the answer is simple: food logging.

Lewnes suggests grabbing a journal or downloading an app and just…start logging. That’s it. Don’t change a thing. Simply write down or enter everything you eat throughout the day. He says athletes should stop putting energy into finding a diet and instead embrace a positive lifestyle change. A change, he says, that is made easier when faced with a list of all the junk foods you ate within a day.

“People tend to eat better when they log. Period,” says Lewnes. “An athlete needs to feel good [about] and believe in what they’re eating. They need to feel like whatever they’re doing is going to give them an edge. This is why logging is important.”

Over time, Lewnes says, food logging helps athletes make better choices. They begin eating healthy not because they have to, but because they want to, a crucial component of a lifestyle change. Long-term, sustainable fitness goals require sustainable practices, which is why Lewnes suggests that food logging doesn’t have to be forever. You’re not bound to it in perpetuity. It’s better to think of them as training wheels instead of a ball and chain. Once eating healthy becomes second nature, it’s perfectly acceptable to stop. Should you find yourself in need of food logging again, then simply resume.

To help the process of switching to a healthier lifestyle, Lewnes thinks athletes are better off training their minds in new ways to think of food and eating as diligently as they train their bodies. Deprivation and fads are not necessary. If you’ve made eating too difficult or deprived yourself too much for too long, it’s human nature to lash out by breaking your rigid rules, especially around the holidays. Lewnes agrees. “It’s fun to have food as a celebration of culture. The important [thing to do] is to find balance and high-quality ingredients. It’s not about deprivation, but balance and quality.”

If you’re looking for a new way to lose weight, fix your health, or improve your athletic performance, try food logging instead of another fad diet. And remember, it’s easier to sustain things you want to do.

Learn more about food logging, check out  MyFoodDiary, MyFitnessPal, and other third-party fitness apps.

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