One of the best ways to keep on top of weight loss is to use a food diary to track your food on a daily basis. Keeping a food diary helps you identify specific food-choice related problems, and also lets you be realistic about what kind of diet plan works for you. A weight loss food diary is one of a number of important tools you need to be using if you want to maximize your chances of success.
What to keep track of
Your weight loss food diary should focus in on recording the foods you eat. That’s the main component of the food diary, and the one you need to be most meticulous about. Accordingly, on a daily basis, your food diary should record:
- The exact food you eat
- When you eat
- Details about the food you eat, including calories, fat grams, sodium, carbohydrates, protein and fiber
At a minimum, that’s what you’re going to track. However, there is more that you want to keep track of if you’re going to use your weight loss food diary for more than just record-keeping.
Watch for patterns
One of the most important things that your food diary is going to show you is patterns. It might be, for example, that you’re consistently consuming extra calories in the evening during prime-time television. It might be that your lunches are bigger, proportionately, than the other meals of the day. It could be you have a penchant for afternoon snacking. Whatever your weak areas are, your food diary will expose them.
Learning about nutrition
Another aspect that will truly boost your weight loss is that, by keeping a food diary, you’re forced to collect nutritional data about the food you eat. You might not realize, for example, just how many calories are in that fast food salad you like to have for lunch. You might figure out that you can cut the amount of dressing on that salad by half and reduce its calorie count significantly. There are many ways this occurs, but basically having a food diary also helps to educate you.
Your food diary can be about more than just the numbers in your food. Many people use a food diary in order to address some of the emotional and psychological aspects of the need for weight loss. For example, you can jot a note at the end of each day that talks about how you feel the day’s food diary turned out. You can celebrate the victories on the days you meet your goals, and you can refocus and rebuild your determination on the days that you didn’t meet your goals.