Keeping track of what you eat in a food diary is a surefire way to help you lose weight - here's how!
Keeping track of what you consume in a food diary or food journal serves two purposes:
1. It helps you to think more about what you are eating because you have to keep track of EVERYTHING that goes into your mouth; and
2. It helps you to start planning what you are going to eat therefore hopefully helping you make healthier eating choices!
Here are a few tips and why's to help make that little notebook (or app!) effective in your diet and nutrition goals:
- Keep your food diary handy and in plain site. There are a lot of online food journals as well such as myfitnesspal.com and fitday.com. These have mobile apps that you can carry around on your phone to keep handy.
- Record everything you eat. Everything - water you drink, the handful of potato chips you grab, the mint candy you pop in your mouth after dinner - everything. It all has an impact, positive or negative, on your fitness goals.
- Record your feelings when you are eating or when you go to eat. There is a lot of emotional eating that makes us put on unnecessary pounds.
Also, jot down where you are at, who you are with and what you were doing. These things will give you clues in case you are going outside of your diet plan.
- Your recordings are also very revealing about what you need to be eating as well. You might notice that you ate a lot of starches one day - hash browns and coffee for breakfast, a bagel for mid-morning snack, pasta for lunch and a baked potato for dinner. You wills tart to see where your meals need balancing.
- Your noting of your eating patterns will make you want to eat healthier. When you are trying to lose weight and you have to record that you didn't exercise that day and you also ate out twice at fast food joints, you don't want to have to repeat writing that again!
- Your journal can also show you where you can replace unhealthy foods with healthy alternatives. Replace sugary snacks like cupcakes with a banana or dates.
- Having to write down everything you are going to eat makes you slow down on that trip to the fridge or the cupboard. Knowing you will have to turn around and record it causes you to think twice...
- Stop and analyze weekly what your daily caloric intake has been and what foods you have been eating - proteins, carbs and fats...and all the junky stuff too!
Many of the popular apps will do this for you - show the calories, the nutritional value and proportions of what you have been eating. These tools will help in your analysis and make necessary changes to your diet.
Click here to get a free download of a daily food diary template to print and use in a binder or folder format!