What if just by making one change in your habits, you could increase your weight loss? It may sound too good to be true, but it has been proven that the simple act of keeping a food diary can encourage you to lose weight.
How does writing down what you eat and drink in your diary work this kind of magic?
For one thing, keeping a food diary instantly increases your awareness of what, how much, and why you are eating. This helps you cut down on mindless munching.
Food diaries also help people identify areas where they can make changes that will help them lose weight, For example, people don’t realise how many calories they are obtaining from drinks and snacks, and these can be easy interventions that can ultimately help reduce your weight.
Food diaries can unveil patterns of overeating. They can also reveal and identify triggers to avoid, such as not eating enough throughout the day and then overeating at night, or overeating when drinking alcohol.
For some people, the very fact that they have to record every bite helps deter overeating.
Know Your Reasons
If you know what you hope to gain from your food diary, you can make sure you’re recording the type of information that will help you in that area. Be clear about your intent, whether it’s to lose weight, become aware of hidden food triggers, notice problematic eating patterns or just make sure you’re eating a healthy diet.
Filling out your diary every day is best.
You can fill out your food diary as you go throughout the day, or set some time aside at the end of the day to update it. I find its best to plan your food the night before if you know that your time will be limited. If using it on the go you should do it either right before eating or ideally right after eating. Important note is to record everything – even if that seems painful.
“It can be tempting to avoid recording an unplanned indulgent dessert or binge episode, but this is the most important time to record. It’s only by seeing your calorie allowance go over the limit will you be able to understand the reasons why.
Something to watch out for: As time goes on, dieters tend to become more lax about how often they update their food diaries and go longer after eating or drinking before logging the information. This ends up with people underestimating what they are eating and has shown that people that do not use their diary fully underestimate by as much as 25%.
Be Accurate About Portion Sizes
If you’re just trying to get a general idea of what, when, and why you are eating, this tip may not apply to you. But if you want to get a precise picture of your intake, make sure the amounts you record in your diary are as accurate as possible. Measuring out your portions will help give you a picture of what a normal serving size looks like. I would advise members to measure portions regularly. Its just become second nature to me now!
Include the ‘Extras’ that Add Up
The more thorough you are when recording what you eat — that handful of M&Ms at the office, the mayo on your sandwich — the more ways you’ll eventually find to cut those extra calories. When you look back over your food diary records, look for those nibbles and bites that can really add up. Did you know that 150 extra calories in a day (that could be one alcoholic drink or an extra bar of chocolate) could result in a 15- to 18-pound weight gain in one year?
Are you embarrassed or ashamed about your eating? Do you have a sense of hopelessness, feeling that it won’t help to fill out a food diary or that weight loss is impossible for you? Does it seem too inconvenient to put down what you eat/drink? Do you feel bad when you “slip up”? These are the four most common obstacles to keeping a food diary. What’s the cure? “All of these obstacles can be overcome by remembering the usefulness of the diaries, not trying to be perfect, acknowledging that slips will happen, and staying motivated to use tools that promote health and well-being. I often hear from people say “Oh I don’t have time to diet” or “I don’t have time to fill in a diary” or even “my life is too busy”. At the beginning it might feel like a lot of work but once you get the hang of it, it really does take a few seconds to enter in your food. If you have more time you can add your own recipes in which in turn will make it quicker for you to add the meals in the future.
Since launching 4 months ago I can already see the patterns showing those who use the diary all the time compared to those who use it partially and those who use it every now and then.
Those who use the diary all the time are constantly losing weight, those who use the diary partially are either losing weight at a much slower rate or have stagnated – and even for these people, after they stagnate they go back to using the diary full time and the weight starts to come off again. Those who only use the diary now and then either do not lose weight or their weight increase – once they realise their weight is increasing and they go back to using the diary their weight begins to come down again.
If you really want to lose weight then I would advise you to use the diary all the time and enter everything into it. In the grand scheme of things, what are a few months of your life if it makes you happier and healthier and shows you how to eat better for your future and for your family?
Find The Reason Not The Excuse
I am often asked, “how does the diary work” and “it is hard to use“? Well, thanks to your feedback I am now in the position to offer everyone 2 Days FREE access to Ireland’s best online food & exercise diary 🙂 Click the link below to be brought to the diary home page where you can click on Take a 2 Day Free Trial – once your trial is complete you can visit our Prices & Packages page and select one of our memberships to continue and receive the benefits of being a full member.
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