If you want to stay motivated… Write it down!
Self-monitoring is crucial to weight loss motivation and success. Writing down exactly what you eat and when keeps it honest (with yourself as well) and keeps you on track!
Research has found that people who track their food intake are more likely to lose weight and maintain their weight loss.
However, to keep a food diary correctly, you must write down EVERYTHING you eat. This includes meals, snacks…. Everything!…. the spoonful of soup you tasted when you were preparing the family meal, the piece of chocolate you ‘tasted’ from your toddler, or the candy you ate off your coworker’s desk. Every bite, sip or taste must be recorded.
You can also record your emotions in your food diary. This can help you identify certain triggers for overeating and help you find healthier ways to cope.
When keeping a food diary, some basic rules to remember are:
- Write everything down.
- Keep your diary with you all day.
- Do it now. Don’t rely on your memory at the end of the day. …
You should include several pieces of information in your daily food diary. These are:
- How much: List the amount of the food/drink item. This might be measured in volume (1/2 cup), weight (10gram), or the number of items (12 chips). You can estimate amounts. There is a difference between ‘tasting’ a teaspoonful or a ladle full!
- What kind: Write down the type of food/drink. Be as specific as you can. Don’t forget to write down extras, such as toppings, sauces, or condiments. For example, butter, cinnamon, or sugar.
- When: Keep track of the time of day you eat.
- Where: Make note of where you eat. If you are at home, write down the room. For instance, at the dining room table, in the kitchen, or on the sofa. If you are out, write down the name of the restaurant or if you are in the car.
- Who with: If you eat by yourself, write “alone.” If you are with friends or family members, list them.
- Activity: In this column, list any activities you do while you eat. You could be working, watching TV, or playing a game.
- Mood: You also should include how you feel when you eat. Are you happy, sad, or bored? Your mood can relate to your eating habits and help you change them
- Be specific. Record your food exactly how you eat it. …gobbled down, tiny bites, nibbled over a period of an hour….
It may seem silly to be so precise and detailed… But it all serves to hold you accountable to yourself for your choices. And to remind you that you were not really as ‘good’ as you thought you were in trying to achieve your goals and perhaps, you can do better by following your Eating plan 100%!
You can keep your food diary on pen and paper or use a website or app. They have all been proven effective.
In conclusion… A food diary can be a useful tool to motivate you and help you achieve your Weightloss outcome. It can help you understand your eating habits and patterns, and help you identify the foods, good and not-so-good, you eat on a regular basis. It can also help pinpoint those habits, emotions and events that are sabotaging your efforts.
Start your food diary today.