Research has repeatedly shown that keeping a food diary really helps you to lose weight. It is easy to see why it works. Most people have no real idea what they put in their mouths and into their system, every day. Even though you are aware that bread, for example, has more calories than carrots, how many people really know how much of each kind of food they manage to eat in a day, let alone over a week, or month? How many people realize that it piles up to give you extra pounds? And how many people analyze the emotions and the reasons that behind their eating behavior?
Being more aware of what you put into your mouth, and your body, and why, is the first effective step to losing weight, and living a healthy life. Unless you know exactly what, and how much you eat, it is easy to underestimate what you have eaten, and to miscount the calories that have entered the system. A food diary helps to assess your eating patterns. It is a simple record, helping you to track what, when, why and how much you ingest every day.
Putting your food intake on paper forces you to face what you eat, and take responsibility for the food choices you make. Tracking why you eat, which emotions are associated, helps you understand your comfort eating, and control it. Initially keeping a diary can be unpleasant; making you uncomfortable, noting down indulgences you would rather forget and avoid facing. Remember, facing your food choices is essential to change them, and realizing poor food choices, along with the discomfort it causes, is essential to motivate results.
A food diary helps you deal with excess weight, bad health, and bad choices in a more targeted way. It enables you to pin point current problems, where they come from, and allows you to deal with them successfully by changing your habits. It can help you design an effective long-term eating plan that will suit you, physically and emotionally. It keeps track of grams and calories, helps identify emotional danger zones, makes you conscious of lapses, pin points cravings, and helps you track portion sizes.
Keeping a food diary is a bit like going to confession, pointless, unless you are completely honest. Track your habits and intake closely, and be honest about them. Use a calorie chart to estimate intake to the nearest gram, portion, or mouthful, and put down everything you eat, without exceptions, including drinks and snack foods. Focus on Feelings, noting why you wanted to eat, and whether it was genuine hunger, depression, boredom, or loneliness. Analyze how you feel after the meal. Is it guilt or a satiated feeling? Make a note of the people you eat with; whether you overeat when you eat faster or slower, and whether you eat when you are doing something else. Is the eating experience positive? Each of these entries will go a long way to changing your eating habits, and getting your weight under control!