When I suggest keeping a food diary to enhance weight loss and change behaviors for life, my personal training clients get pained looks, roll their eyes and say, “Oh no, not the food diary! Isn’t there an easier way? Maybe I can just remember, please don’t make me write it down.”
Since I have been here before, I start off by sharing the research on weight loss and how the food diary is the absolute, proven number one way to lose and keep it off.
Their eyes are still rolling when I go on to suggest that true lifelong freedom from fighting food is founded in becoming aware of what is really going on around their food intake. Being accountable, writing it down and increasing awareness about eating food is vital to weight loss success.
However, I see their ears perk up when I share the double weight loss results of those participates in Kaiser Permanente’s Study of l700 people. The more frequency of food journaling and sharing their results, the more weight lost they accomplished.
After distilling down all my experiences with food diaries, I have come to the conclusion when used with complete honesty, and accountability, they will most likely be the one most powerful tool in your “weight management” toolbox.
Food diaries help you discover the rough spots, the red lights, the truth of how much food our bodies need, or how little, while keeping what we are eating in our current memory.
Do you have to keep tracking forever? Most likely you do not. Once the information becomes part of you as your internal guide, it is likely you will develop a healthy lean eating plan similar to behaviors of naturally fit weight people . Eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are full.
Tips for keeping a successful food diary:
Be honest – record everything you put in your mouth that has calories
Be accurate – under reporting portions impacts weight loss success
Be complete – dig deeper to answer what was I doing while eating? how did I feel before? why am I eating?
Be consistent – always carry your food diary with you or use a diet-tracking application on your smart phone