You may be asking yourself, What is a food diary? Why do you need one? What use is it to me?
So lets look at why I believe a food diary is a great tool to track what you have eaten each day and what your feelings were at the time. If you attempted to remember all that you consumed yesterday , the likelihood is that you wouldn’t remember everything and that is the same for all of us. Its easy to forget about the biscuit at work, the sample at the supermarket or my worst habit of nibbling whilst cooking! Chefs always have to taste the food- right? The issue is that these bites here and there can add up and potentially hinder our weight loss goals and this is where keeping a food diary can help.
After you have tracked your food intake for a few weeks, you will be able to analyse your food diary to determine if any unhelpful patterns are emerging. When we have identified patterns from and cause and effect relationships, then we can then decide how best to tackle the unhelpful behaviors that you may be experiencing. Even the simple act of keeping a food diary and holding yourself to account can encourage you to eat fewer calories, WebMD even goes further to say in some studies it has been shown to double your weight loss!
5 Reasons why to keep a Food Diary
Here are some of my favourite tips on why a food diary is important for you! Read my 5 tips further down or watch the video now!
1 - Lose more weight
Recording your food and drink intake can double the amount of weight you lose according to a Kaiser Permanente study involving more than, 1,600 people. It was one of the largest weight loss maintenance trials ever conducted. “The more food records people kept, the more weight they lost” said lead author Jack Hollis Ph. D., a researcher at Kaiser Permanente’s Centre for Health research.
2 - Identify Emotional Triggers
In addition to recording what and how much they eat, I ask clients to record how they feel emotionally before and after eating as well as employing a mindful eating strategy. This helps them recognise that often the impulse to eat is prompted by emotional triggers such as stress, anxiety, sadness or boredom. Others notice that they eat to pass time or in my case I found that I was tempted to snack when watching TV – especially when I watched cooking shows! The food diary creates awareness of unacknowledged habits and creates access points to find non- food ways to cope with emotions.
3 - Stay Motivated
For many clients, just the thought of having to write down everything they have to put in their mouth is a fantastic deterrent for over indulgence. Accountability is a huge part of any behaviour change and having someone to answer to, even if that person is you is very compelling.
4 - Understand Your True Eating Patterns
You can’t change what you don’t know about! I often hear my clients say, “I eat lots of fruit and vegetables” or “I don’t drink that much”. However, when they start to track, they realise how different their perceptions are from reality. The objective of a food journal is not to police yourself but to learn about yourself which is the first step towards implementing changes that will stick long term.
5 - Connect the Dots Between Food and Your Physical & Mental Health
Some foods may make you feel energised, while others drain you. Some foods may lift your spirits and others might bring you down. By reviewing your journal, you can learn about how food affects YOUR body and mind.