It’s easy to either eat too much or too little if you don’t pay attention. That’s why keeping a food diary is a smart idea. Tracking the food you eat forces you to take responsibility for your food choices. It gives you a much clearer picture of what you’re really eating and how dedicated you are to your weight loss efforts. Studies show that people who keep food diaries lose more weight and keep more of that weight off in the long run.
For anyone thinking of starting a food journal, Dr. Anne McTiernan, MD, PhD, director of the Prevention Center at FHCRC and lead author of the study. “Keeping a food journal helps create accountability to self,” offers this advice on getting started with your food journal:
– Be honest. Record everything. If you don’t want to write it down, you probably shouldn’t eat it.
– Be accurate. Measure portions you’re unsure of and read labels.
– Be complete. Include condiments and toppings, as well as how your food was prepared.
– Be consistent. Keep your journal close at hand (or your smart phone—there are many apps to help track food).
“If you suspect that you tend to eat in response to emotions or stress, it is a good idea to make a note of your feelings in your food journal, too. It’s important to write them down both before and after your meal. Doing so will help you to understand what emotions cause you to eat and what effect certain foods have on those emotions. You may wish to make a note of the specific situation that caused the emotional eating, such as “Argument today with boss” or “Missed deadline at school.” When you understand what leads you to emotional eating, you can work towards planning alternative coping strategies for the next time the same situation arises.” – Jennifer R. Scott
Dear Reader, I hope you’re having a wonderful summer! 🙂