Keep A Food Diary

February 19, 2011

One of the best first steps you can take when you decide to lose weight is to assess how you eat and also why you eat. Keeping a food diary is probably the best way to accomplish this task. By writing everything down, you can not only target your problem areas, but you can also get a look at the root of them. At the end of the day, keeping a food diary may be the best thing you've done for yourself when it comes to getting a grip on your diet.

Keeping a Food Diary

There are a variety of ways to keep a food diary - from electronic recording on your computer or mobile, to a score of different diary helps available on the internet. However, if you've never kept a food diary before, we suggest a notebook and pen - do it by hand - and keep the notebook handy so you can write down everything you eat and drink. When you rely on inputting the information into your computer, by the time you get to it you may have forgotten something or your information may be a bit fuzzy. By writing everything down as soon as you eat or drink, then you've got the information immediately recorded and you can track your eating more effectively. Once you've established writing everything down immediately, then you can move on to the electronics.

Expanding the Information: Diet Habits

Once you've developed the habit of recording what you've had to eat and drink, you may want to expand your information to include other details. These additional details can help you learn more about yourself, your eating habits and other issues that may not seem relevant when you first record the information. You'll be amazed at how you respond to some situations with food.

Other information to include in your food diary, besides what you ate or what you had to drink, how much, and when; you can include nutritional information (grams, protein content, sugar, calories, fat, etc.) and you can write down what you were feeling or thinking about at the time. This is a great way to determine how much of your eating is emotionally motivated. You can identify your danger zones, assess your reasons for eating (aside from genuine hunger), and decide whether you really were hungry or just stuffing emotions.

Creating Your Own Personal Diet Record

Over time you will be able to choose the information that is most pertinent for you and your weight loss program. If you are not an emotional eater, than recording your feelings at the time you were eating won't be relevant. If portion sizes totally escape you, than counting calories is not really effective.

As you keep a diary of what you are eating and drinking, you'll become more conscious of what goes into your body. This is the first step in awareness that leads to healthy lifestyle choices.

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