Keeping a Food Diary
Dieting is something many of us have done at one time or another. Successful or not, studies published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine have shown that those who keep food diaries lose twice as much weight as those who rely solely on diet and exercise.
Food diaries are a great way to focus on your food choices, control calories, and reduce useless eating.
There are many different types of food diaries or journals. The most basic is a listing of foods and fluids consumed throughout the day. Not only is this a great way to see exactly what you are eating, it is also helpful in evaluating which foods are promoting weight loss and which ones could be interfering with the process. More detailed diaries can include times each meal or snack is consumed and amounts of each item.
By keeping specific records of when each meal or snack is consumed, there are specific patterns that may arise. For example, you may unknowingly have a craving for sweets at a certain time everyday and being prepared with healthy ways to fulfill that craving could be the difference in losing weight or gaining weight at the end of a week. Other patterns that may arise and can sabotage diets include overeating at night after eating light throughout the day, bingeing while watching TV, or “grazing” between meals.
Recording the quantity of each item consumed throughout the day can also paint a clear picture as to whether or not you are meeting the daily requirements for each food group. You may think you are consuming enough fruits, vegetables, and fiber, but may find out otherwise when actually tracking them for a week or two.
Keeping a log of what, when, and why you eat certain foods is a great way to make you aware of pitfalls and ways to improve. Simply recording each food or drink that enters your body can mean the difference between a successful or an unsuccessful diet plan. To get you started, My Food Diary.com is a great resource and can walk you through the process of accurately recording food items as well as encourage you to keep with the program.
Take control over your food choices and work your way to a healthier diet and weight.
– Lauren Headrick, Project Intern-War on Poverty – Florida