The Benefits of Keeping a Food Diary

Food DiaryKeeping a food diary can increase your weight loss success. 

In a study by the Center for Health Research participants who kept a record of what they ate lost twice the weight of participants who didn’t track their food. The study appeared in the August 2008 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

How can such a simple activity help you lose weight?  

Open your eyes to the truth. 

Writing down what you eat, how much you ate, when you ate and any associated emotions or activities can provide information that can help you identify areas where you can make improvements. One thing I learned when I started tracking my food was just how often I was taking little bites of food here and there. Mindless eating while cooking dinner, packing kids’ lunches or putting away the snacks my children left out was really adding up.

Identify trends.

You may find that there are certain times where you tend to eat more than other times. You may also find that you make unhealthy choices more in certain situations. One thing I learned from my food diary is if I give in to certain treats (like frosting or candy) it sets me up for a day of cravings and frequently I give in. It’s so much easier for me to avoid those treats than to deal with the consequences. Many women find that it’s harder to eat right during “that time of the month.”  These are the types of trends you can identify by food tracking. Once you identify negative trends you can set some goals to do something about it.

Be honest.

It’s important when you start a food diary to be honest. You don’t have to show the diary to anyone else so be honest so you have good data to work with. That means writing down EVERY bite for a period of time. It’s best if you track all throughout the day instead of tracking at the end of the day. If you wait until the end of the day you can easily forget all the little extras you ate throughout the day. You don’t have to track forever. Just long enough to get a good sense of where you can improve to make the biggest impact in your health.

How to track.

You can track in many different ways. The easiest way is to just get a little notebook and write down everything you eat. You can also use apps like MyFitnessPal. Lately I’ve been tracking using the system included with the 21 Day Fix as shown in the photo below. It’s an easy way to track my portions of each macronutrient throughout the day. If you would like help with getting started feel free to contact me at info@cravingfitness.org

21 day

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