Keeping a food diary will help you lose weight

food diary

What is a food diary and how will it help me?

We usually recommend people who are struggling to manage their weight to keep a food diary. But what is a food diary and how does it help you lose weight? A food diary is a record that you should carry with you at all times to record within it every single thing that you consume in a day-both food and drink. Your food diary could be a small notebook, or a log on your iPhone or similar hand held device.

The primary purpose of your food diary is to show you what you are really eating. Frequently we forget what we have eaten, or may subconsciously put items out of our mind. For a food diary to be effective, you must make sure you're honest and record every single thing you eat or drink in your food diary at the time that it is consumed. Otherwise, the under reporting of calories in your food diary will lead you to believe you are eating less and encourage the temptation to eat more. This in fact, may happen in up to 50% of cases.

Record the types of food in your food diary that you are eating, and importantly, the portion sizes. You should also record what was happening at the time you ate the item. Were you watching TV? Were you feeling worried, or depressed? How did you feel after you were finished eating? What were your energy levels like? This should all go in your food diary.

Providing an accurate record of your eating patterns

Patterns may emerge in your food diary, that show when you are most likely to snack. In the case of TV watching you may be able to modify your behaviour so as to avoid the times when you have a higher risk of snacking.

Overeating can lead to further destructive behaviour. A person may feel guilty for eating a particularly indulgent item and these guilt feelings may increase the depression regarding their weight. It becomes a cycle of eating leading to guilt, leading to more eating for comfort. A food diary may help you identify such patterns and help you stop the cycle.

Your food diary can help you to see that foods that you are eating are not nutritionally the best that you could be eating. That your calories could be better spent on healthier foods that may leave you feeling fuller for longer, than perhaps that bar of chocolate that you would normally reach for.

Motivation for your healthier eating regime can be garnered by seeing just how badly you have been eating. Once you see that it is the fault of your diet and not some other, unseen factor that is making you gain weight then finally you can see that change is within your own control, and so begin to work towards change.

You may choose to add in daily calorie goals to your diary. As your daily food is consumed you take the calorie value away from your daily allowance, allowing you to clearly see how much you have available to you. A food diary can be a great help to those who are willing to use it correctly, but this can only happen if you are honest with yourself.

Take a look at an example of our food diary that you can download for free.

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