Using a food diary can help you to lose weight and keep it off. One of the major problems with most diets occurs after you’ve had some amount of success. Keeping the weight off can be just as challenging, if not more so, than losing it in the first place.
People have a tendency to go back to their old eating habits once the diet is over. This is especially true when using diet plans that are designed for quick results and don’t focus on lifestyle changes. You start to relax about your eating habits, munching on chips during your favorite TV show, grabbing a cookie as your heading out the door, and before you know it, you’ve put the weight back on. Whether you use it alone or with another diet plan, utilizing a food diary can help you to avoid this common pitfall.
Starting a food diary is a fairly easy endeavor. All you need is a notebook small enough to carry with you throughout your day. Divide each page into five columns:
- The time
- What you ate
- Portion size
- Where you ate it
- What else were you doing (ex: watching TV)
Be certain to write down everything that you consume, including beverages. People have a tendency to drink more calories than they realize. It’s important to list things as you eat them. Don’t wait until you get home to list your daily consumption; you may not remember everything. Be specific; don’t write down broccoli if it was broccoli in cheese sauce. One trick to remember when trying to estimate serving size is that 3 ounces of meat is roughly the size of a deck of cards.
Analyzing the Data
For the first two weeks, don’t analyze anything, just record. This allows you to have a true look into your eating habits. After the two weeks are up, look back and see what you consumed and where. Some of your bad habits will be glaringly obvious. You know that eating an extra large order of fries, while stuck in traffic during your nightly commute, probably isn’t the wisest choice. But other entries may need a little more investigation. It’s not uncommon to find out that some of the choices we make, that we thought were healthy for us, turn out to be high in calories or fat. For example, depending on the ingredients used, a smoothie can range from a healthy 130 calories to over 1,900 per serving. Even the 130 calorie smoothie may be too much if you’re adding it to a complete meal. That’s why it’s so important to write everything down. Here is a list of nutritional information, on over 7,000 foods, that will make analyzing your food entries very easy … http://www.3fatchicks.com/food-calorie-counts/ .
Keeping a food diary takes just minutes a day, and may be the eye opener you need to keep on track with your weight loss goals.