Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Food Diaries and Weight Loss

Many of us have heard that it is recommended that we keep food diaries in order to lose weight, as well as, for other health reasons. When you keep track of what you eat with food diaries, you will be able to see your bad (and good) eating habits, count calories and many other things. Below are a few tips for keeping an accurate food diary and how it can help you with weight loss.

What Makes a Food Diary?

While you may have been thinking you will have to go out and purchase a food diary before you can begin, you’d be wrong. There are many ways to start a food diary without buying one – however, you can find a wide variety of the online. All you need to do to start your own food diary is find a small notebook at home that is easily transportable. You can even use your cell phone if it has Notepad or and App designed for this. Regardless of what you decide to use, make sure that you aren’t using loose papers for your food diary.

What to Record?

Well, a food diary is exactly what it sounds like – it’s a diary, or record, of everything you eat and drink. For example, if you eat a small snack of M&Ms, then a salad for lunch and nachos for supper – you write it all down. You even write down what you had to drink whether it was coffee, water or a Coke. Be sure to individualize the food if you have multiple things – like on a salad. Be specific and write down the type of dressing and what veggies the salad had on it.

Before you begin using the food diary as a way to lose weight, write down everything you eat and drink for a day or two – without changing anything. Eat and drink normally, as if you weren’t about to start a diet. This will help you look back and see what changes you can make to your daily diet to reduce calories and implement new habits. You can also record your moods when you are eating to help identify if when you eat the most – for example, were you really hungry or were you nervous, angry or stressed instead?

Also, when you record the foods and drinks you intake throughout the day, be sure to record how many calories are associated with each of them. Most food packages have the calorie count on them, but if you are eating at a restaurant, fresh fruit, etc. and don’t have that information, you can easily get it online at websites like mypyramid.gov and calorieking.com.

What Will the Food Diary Show You?

Obviously, when you keep track of everything you eat and drink throughout the day, you will be able to look back and actually see the bad things you have eaten. If you have recorded your moods, you will be able to see when you are the most vulnerable to eat sugary or starchy foods. When you keep a food diary for long (a week) you will easily be able to see eating patterns.

As these eating patterns reveal themselves, you will be able to make conscious decisions regarding what you eat. For example, if you have a habit of eating M&Ms at 11:00 a.m. for a snack, make the decision to eat an apple or banana instead. Once you see where your specific problems are, you will be able to take steps to fix them!

No comments:

Post a Comment