Keeping is a food log is a great practice if you’re trying to lose weight. In studies, people who kept a log of their food and drink, lost twice as much as those who didn’t keep records. Here’s some tips on how to do it:
- Write down shat you’re eating, how much you’re eating and when you’re eating. Be intentional about it. It will help you when you get to the evaluation step in this process.
- Because your mindset is SOOOOOO important, HOW you’re feeling when you’re eating is really good to document as well. You should be calm, and controlled and ENJOYING your food during each meal. It’s also important for digestion. Eating while stressed and rushing through your meal makes you sick and unable to properly digest your food. Chew thoroughly and de-stress before you eat—do some deep breathing techniques prior to your meal if you’re in a stressful environment—it only takes a minute and makes a HUGE difference.
- Not only is HOW you’re feeling important, but WHERE you eat also matters. What else are you doing? Watching TV or working on your computer? Take time out to JUST EAT. If you’re eating with others, that’s even better, as most people eat slower and enjoy their meal more. Enjoy that food.
- Make sure you write down what you’ve eaten right afterward. Be specific with the size of your meal and don’t forget to include drinks, especially alcohol. If you wait until later, you may omit something.
- Are you New School or Old School? There are several apps for your phone that work well for keeping track of your eating behavior. “Lose It” and “My Fitness Pal” can help. If you’re old school like me, you can write it down in your journal or on a log, (see below). I wanted to create something very simple and made my own.
- Another thing to track is how you feel AFTER eating. If you’re having symptoms, write them down. It may be that onions give you that horrendous migraine and writing these things down can give you insight into those symptoms and their manifestation.
- Set specific SMART goals for your meals and weight loss. SMART stands for: S = Specific, M = Measurable, A = Achievable, R = Relevant, and T = Time-based. Make each goal specific and set a time goal so you’ll know when you’ve completed it and be able to set a new goal as needed. Break down BIG goals into chunk-sized pieces that can be more easily accomplished.
- After a few weeks of tracking, you can evaluate the data and make changes to the foods, timing, amount and any symptoms you’re experiencing based on those results. Is your mood affecting your eating? Might the timing be inconvenient? Are you eating enough protein? Evaluating the progress you’ve made and tweaking your habits and goals to truly reflect your new lifestyle is key.
Maybe you need to eat a small snack before you leave work so you don’t binge eat when you get home. Maybe you can delay a meal to work around stressful situations at work or home. Maybe you need to shop more often, or less often to adjust your cooking and eating habits. Be mindful of the process and intentional with your eating and recording. You won’t have to keep documenting your diet forever, but if you’re diligent, it can be an amazing tool for improving your health during this journey.