Keep a Food Diary to Kick Start Your Weight Loss Journey
We are at that time of year again where we have over eaten and not done much physical activity and we want to do something about it.
The process sounds easy
- Eat less
- Move more
But is it that easy?
We become addicted and fall into habitual eating patterns. We need a way to break these patterns and learn a new way of eating. A way that will fit into our lifestyles and compliment our routines wether they are physical or none physical routines.
There are many things that we can discuss to help you achieve your weight loss goals but for this post we will talk about keeping a record of what you are eating.
Keeping a Food Diary
A fantastic way to help you lose weight is to keep a food diary. Keeping a track of your food and drink consumption helps you to monitor what food and drink is causing you to gain weight or lose weight.
You or your Personal Trainer/Nutrition advisor can analyse your consumption and recommend changes to your diet to help you achieve your desired goals.
Research has shown that keeping a record of what you eat can provide a great deal of help with your weight loss goals. In one weight loss study of nearly 1,700 participants, those who kept daily food records lost twice as much weight as those who kept no records.
What should you include in a food diary?
The secret to keeping a successful food diary is accuracy and consistency. So, what should you record? A basic food diary should include the following:
- Eating. Write down the specific food and beverage consumed and how it is prepared (baked, broiled, fried, etc.). Include any sauces, condiments, dressings, or toppings.
- How much you are eating. List the amount in grams, teaspoons, tablespoons. If possible, it is best to weigh and measure your food. If you are away from home, do your best to estimate the portion.
- When you eat. Writing down the time that you’re eating can be very helpful in identifying potentially problematic times, such as late-night snacking.
Jotting down where you’re eating, what else you’re doing while you’re eating, and how you’re feeling while eating can help you understand some of your habits and offer additional insight.
- Where you eat. Make a note of the specific place you are eating and drinking. Is it at the kitchen table, in your bedroom, in the car, walking down the street, at a restaurant, or at a friend’s home.
- What else are you doing while eating? Are you on the computer, watching TV, or talking with a family member or a friend?
- Who are you eating with? Are you eating with your spouse, children, friend, or a colleague, or are you alone?
- How are you feeling as you’re eating? Are you happy, sad, stressed, anxious, lonely, bored, tired?
Some Tips for a successful Food Diary
Here are some tips for keeping a successful food diary:
- Write down the food or drink as soon as you have it. Don’t wait until the end of the day because your recollection is likely to be less accurate.
- Be as specific as you can with the food or beverage. For example, if you are drinking a coffee, do you put sugar and milk in your coffee?
- Be sure to include any alcoholic beverages you consume.
- A smartphone app like MyFitnessPal can support your efforts. These apps also offer information on calories and other nutrients.
What to do after you’ve kept a food diary.
After completing a week’s worth of food journaling, have a look at what you’ve recorded.
Things to look for…
- How healthy is my diet?
- Am I eating at least 5 portions per day of vegetables and fruit?
- Am I eating whole grains each day?
- Am I eating foods or beverages with added sugar? If so, how frequently and can I replace them?
- Do my moods affect my eating habits? Do I reach for unhealthy snacks when I’m tired or stressed?
- How often do I eat on the run?
So start now. Keep a track of what you are eating and drinking each day. If you need advice on what are the correct things to eat and drink then contact me.