Known as ‘self-monitoring’, research shows that people who keep track of what, when and why they eat, and how active they are, are the ones who lose weight and keep it off. Become a successful record keeper and you may become a successful weight loser too!
Keeping a food diary will help you to discover where you eat and how you feel when you eat. You will increase control over your eating and your eating patterns will become clearer, which will assist you in making sustainable changes.
Although theoretically easy to do, it’s not everybody’s cup of tea, and even the best hands get understandably slack after a while. Many diabetics keep a diary, providing them and their attending dietician and doctor with highly useful feedback about their diet and treatment. Their health depends on it. If you are overweight, so does yours.
Record keeping can be done in several ways: pen and paper, PDA (personal digital assistant), website, a voice recorder, your mobile phone camera. It doesn’t matter what type you use, as long as it’s easy enough for long enough. I have had some patients even take photos of their meals as a record.
Writing down everything you eat and drink can be difficult. But the more honest you can be, the more it will help you. It can take a little while to get used to and comfortable with it all. And sometimes it may seem like a waste of time. But it really is worth the effort. If things are going well, you may find you only need to keep it now and then, or if your weight loss goes off track.
• Record EVERYTHING that passes through your lips – even drinks such as tea and coffee (also list amount of milk & sugar), all nibbles and tastes as well.
• Record immediately after eating or drinking – carry your food diary and a pen with you or use your PC or electronic diary.
• Do not change your diet while keeping a food diary.
Food type and amount: Be as specific as possible when describing the food type – the way it was prepared (fried; frozen etc…) and the amount eaten (medium bowl; handful; ½ cup etc…) . TIP: No need to weigh anything – use your hand as a portion guide.
Place: Of course, it may well be other situations that lead to you eating more than you intend. You may eat more when with others (friends, family etc) or just because food is around (at a party, sitting watching a video/DVD etc).
Sample food diary:
|Daily Eating Recording Sheet
|TIP: When keeping your record indicate in brackets where you know you need to do it differently.|
|Breakfast||Portion size||Snack||Portion size||Lunch||Portion size||Snack||Portion size||Supper||Portion size|