How can keeping a Food Diary help to achieve weight-loss?

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How can keeping a Food Diary help to achieve weight-loss?

18th Nov 2013

Do any of these sound familiar? “I eat really healthily and I exercise and I just can’t seem to lose weight” or “I hardly eat anything and I still put on weight.” These are sayings I often hear from my clients and there is one simple solution to these questions… a food diary.

It is easy to think that we are eating healthily but when we delve deeper into our diets it often becomes clear that perhaps our diet is not as perfect as we initially thought. It is common to be misled by myths and rumours about different diets. Often, media amplification can distort our views on nutrition and what a healthy diet really is. When you are starting a weight loss or exercise programme, it is important to keep track of what you are eating and drinking. Nearly all of my clients are happy to keep a food diary without hesitation or question, but do they really know the reasons behind why they are doing it?

When trying to lose weight, some people focus on what they should be eating while others focus on what they shouldn’t be eating. Essentially it is a combination of them both. Keeping a food diary shows exactly what you are eating and drinking. From this, it can be determined what is missing from your diet, what there is too much of in your diet and consequently what needs to be altered to ensure you maintain a stable, balanced diet.

When keeping a food diary, it is important to include what food and drink you have consumed, at what times of the day and how you felt emotionally. Together, these vital bits of information can establish a relationship between yourself and food and helps bring to the surface the reasons behind what, why and when you are eating. By looking back over your food diary you will see more clearly how different times of the day the moods you were in affect your intake in food. Planning and organisation is a key element when trying to achieve weight-loss and a food diary works alongside to help with this.

When I said before about a food diary showing exactly what you are eating, I meant exactly. It is human nature to take shortcuts to make things easier for ourselves but shortcuts are not an option here. In order to lose weight changes need to be made to your eating habits and diet. These changes can only be made if an honest record is kept. You may feel ashamed to write down the biscuit you had with a cup of tea or the mayonnaise you put in your sandwich, but in order to set realistic and achievable goals you need to be aware of what you are eating and how to change it for the better. This is why as mentioned before, detail is a necessity. Make sure you record the portion sizes of what you are eating and drinking so that you can measure how healthy or un-healthy each choice you’re making really is. Remember a healthy diet is about everything in moderation.

So from this, what are the main 5 reasons for keeping a food diary?

  • It shows you what you are actually eating compared to what you may think you are eating
  • It connects to your emotions and determines why you are eating
  • It highlights how much you are eating/drinking of everything
  • It illustrates what you need to change to ensure a balanced diet/ weight-loss
  • It aids with meal planning which will lead to moderation and a more balanced diet
  • Once all 5 are clarified, it makes it easy for you to decide where you are going wrong and how to change your diet accordingly. A food diary is a simple but very effective way to achieve and maintain weight-loss. So what are you waiting for, go get a piece of paper and a pen…!