Lose Weight with a Food Diary. Better than a Diet

Scientists studying obesity know that more of us are overweight than ever before. And even though we get less exercise than we did a generation ago, our eating habits are much more to blame for our wider hips, pot bellies and flabby arms and thighs.

Restaurants, fast food, supermarkets and stores all make it easy to eat more and more. And it's so easy to lose track of how much we eat. Do you remember what you ate yesterday? How many times did you eat an extra snack? And how much did you really eat? A half pound burger is almost three servings of meat! Your morning coffee drink or smoothie could be anywhere from calorie free to over 1000 calories!

Keeping a food diary is one of the best ways to ‘watch what you eat’, without even ‘going on a diet’. To begin, simply write down what you eat, the time of day, and how hungry or full you were before and after eating. I use a scale of 1 - very hungry, 2 - hungry, 3 - not hungry, 4 - full, 5 - stuffed.

Don’t forget to note how the food was made, and what sauces or toppings were used. Cream sauce is a big calorie topping compared to tomato sauces, and the extra fat in fried vegetables makes a big difference on your waistline compared to sauteed or grilled!

A monthly calendar on the wall usually isn't enough space to write out one day’s food. But a regular piece of paper works great - two to three days on a sheet works best for me. You can also use a daily journal, or even a spreadsheet program like Excel. There are also "calorie counter" sites that work great, too.

For many people, writing down your eating is enough to make you lose weight, but for best results, look back at your diary every few days, or once a week. Notice your choices, and how just writing everything down can help you eat better. You can see if you are eating too much (did you have a ‘5’ more than once or twice a week?) Or are you snacking when your hunger isn’t a “1” or a “2”? You can also see the quality of the food you eat. How much of your eating is ‘junk food’ or ‘fast food’? How many vegetables and fruits are you eating?

To make your diary even better, keep track of your weight each day. If you aren’t losing weight even though your food diary isn’t showing much, then take a week, and look up every food you ate using a calorie counter, and separate out the calories into carbs, protein, and fat. This can help find hidden ‘diet busters’ that are adding more calories without you knowing it. Replacing a few foods with better choices can add up to a few extra pounds every month!

For a powerful way to shift your weight loss or fitness into high gear, [LINK] see this article on expanding your food diary into a fitness journal to help power-up your fitness and weight loss program!