Thursday, 21 April 2011

The Importance of Keeping a Food Diary

It may well be that you’ve heard all about food diaries but think it’s a complete waste of time. I mean, how is writing stuff down supposed to help you lose weight? But in fact, keeping a food diary is one of the most effective weight loss tools you can use. And it doesn’t cost a penny.

A food diary really comes into its own if you’ve been dieting for weeks or months but hit the dreaded weight loss plateau. You’ve absolutely no idea why you aren’t shedding any more weight. After all, you’re counting calories, sticking rigidly to your diet and doing everything you’re supposed to. But still the weight won’t budge.
vegan-food-diary
Food diary, Flickr.com

There may be any number of reasons for this. But one area where people tend to go astray on their diet is because they’re not keeping track of what they’re eating. Well, they might be, but only in their head. The mind is clever at selective memory. Somehow, when you’re trying to recall what you ate during the previous day or week, there’s a whole lot left out.

However, if you’re keeping a note of every morsel that passes your lips, you can’t pretend it never happened. It will be there, in black and white. And once you’ve got everything there, on paper, or a spreadsheet, it’s easy totting up the calories to see what’s happening. More often than not, dieters find they drastically underestimate how much food they’re eating on a daily basis. It’s not just those on a diet either. It’s people who aren’t dieting but claim they ‘hardly eat a thing’ and can’t understand why they’re overweight!

So if you’re struggling with your weight and can’t understand why, try investing some time, just a week, in writing down everything you eat. Keep a notebook with you at all times. It can also be helpful to enter everything into a spreadsheet where you can include the calories of each food then add it all up at the end of each day.

It might be a pain, but it can be a real eye opener when you find out exactly how much you are eating each day. And don’t leave out anything. Not drinks, not the odd chip snatched from your friend, or bite from a chocolate bar or leftovers from the kids plates. It all gets written down. You might be in for a shock.

To get you started, 'Dietminder' is a ready made food diary which is all set up for you. It has special pages for you to write all your food down and there are columns for calories as well as fat, carbs, protein and fibre grams. There's even space to put down your physical activity. Plus there's lots more. This food diary is  popular for very good reason.

While you're at it, if you don't have a handy pocket calorie guide, the 'hugely better Calorie Counter' will make life and calorie counting so much easier, especially since it provides a guide to portion size and calories per portion.





© Diets and Calories 2011


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