Do you feel that, no matter how much you work out, you just aren’t losing weight?
It’s time to start using a food diary to track your nutrition as well as your fitness regimen.
Often we’ll think that we are being healthy, but the extra snacks here and there can add up over the weeks and sabotage our hard work. Keep reading to find out why a food diary can help you lose weight, and how to make the most of keeping one.
Why a Food Diary Can Help You Lose Weight
Track Your Snacks
You might think you eat three square meals a day – but have you thought about all those little extras, too?
Whether you sneak a couple of fries from your kid’s plate at lunchtime or have ‘just one’ cookie in the office break room, it all adds up.
Tracking every single thing that you eat over a period of time will help you to see where you can cut back on unnecessary calories.
Monitor Your Liquid Intake
You need to make sure you’re staying hydrated – and with the right liquids, too.
Many people tend to snack when they’re dehydrated, as they mistake thirst for hunger. Tracking your liquid intake will help you identify if you’re drinking enough water throughout the day. Good hydration will keep you satiated and improve your workout performance, too.
Liquid calories are also something to look out for when you’re using a food diary. You could live off salads all week long, but if you’re adding sugar and cream to your coffee every day those calories will quickly add up.
Identify Your Triggers for Overeating
Some people eat when they’re happy, others when they’re sad. Some reach for the candy when they’re stressed, while others get whatever they can grab when they’re rushing around.
A food diary will help you to identify when you’re most likely to overeat, or pick less healthy options, so that you can modify your behavior to compensate. For example, if your diary reveals that you’re always grabbing food on-the-go, try meal prepping to save your diet and your bank account!
Tips for Keeping a Food Diary
Be Honest with Yourself
It’s important that you track everything and not just the things that would look good on paper.
Every morsel, mouthful, and tiny snack is worth writing down. This is important, as it will help you take an honest look at your eating habits and help you to improve in the long-term.
Try a Food Tracking App
You could try writing everything in a notebook, download a printable food journal, but many people have success with food tracking apps.
The most popular one is called MyFitnessPal, and it lets you track everything in one place. You can easily log food while you’re out and about, so you don’t need to remember later on what you’ve eaten.
Food diary apps like this will also often have a section to track your workouts too, so you can see how your nutrition ties in with your exercise regimen.
Don’t forget what you drink! As well as being honest with yourself about the not-so-great snacks you’ve snaffled, remember to track your liquid intake too.
If you often cook meals at home from scratch, you may also benefit from listing every ingredient you use. This will help you see where you’re adding excess calories, such as oil for stir-frying, and find out where you can modify recipes for better nutrition.
Write Down How You Feel
At the end of every day write down how you felt. Were you lethargic? Did you eat that cookie because you were stressed? Did you have lunch at your desk without mindful eating?
Tying in your emotions with your food diary will help you to see where your triggers lie. When you know how food affects how you feel it’s much easier to take steps to minimize emotional eating.
Review Your Diary With a Nutritionist
When you’ve been keeping a food diary for a few months, it’s worth booking some time with a nutritionist to make sure you’re following the right path for your lifestyle.
Take time with your nutritional counselor to work out your current and future goals, and how this will impact your diet. Marathon runners, for example, will have different dietary needs to weightlifters, so it’s important to make sure you’re eating well for your lifestyle.