If your diet needs a little help and you’re not sure why, you may want to consider using a diet journal. According to a study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, keeping a food diary can help you lose weight.
In addition to tracking your food, you can also track your exercise, water intake and energy level. Buy a nice notebook, write in a leather-bound diary or start an online tracking system. You may notice your weight loss and exercise goals are easier to meet, and you’ll also enjoy these five benefits to keeping a diet journal.
Some of us (who, me?) can overeat. When you keep a diet journal of all the food you’re taking in, you can get a look at how many calories and how much fat you’re consuming in a day or over the course of a week. You might not notice that your portions are out of control or you’re snacking heavily right before dinner unless you’re writing it down.
You’ll be aware not only of how much you eat, but what you’re choosing to put in your mouth. For the best benefit, track everything, including beverages and that handful of grapes you grabbed from the fridge on your way out the door.
You can rationalize that extra scoop of ice cream to yourself in a million different ways. However, your diet journal isn’t having it. Writing down everything you eat and comparing it to the amount of exercise and physical activity you’re doing will force you to look for needed improvements.
You’ll be able to pinpoint when you seem to binge and which foods trigger a need to eat more food. You’ll have to answer for the three days you didn’t go to the gym this week. Your journal helps you stay on track.
Lots of people track their weight and measurements in their diet journals as well as their food and exercise. That can help you feel really great about where you’ve been and where you want to go. When you’re feeling like you aren’t seeing new results fast enough, flip back to pages one and two of your journal. You’ll see that you have improved at your own pace, and it will motivate you to get to that Zumba class and skip the fast food.
#4 Meal Planning
Your diet journal doesn’t have to be all facts and figures. Have a little fun with it. Jot down some healthy recipes you’ve wanted to try, make a list of fruit you need from the farmer’s market and plan what you’ll eat for the next few days. This will prepare you to make healthy choices and get you excited about the delicious things you’ll be feeding yourself.
One of the greatest benefits you can get from your diet journal is an excuse to celebrate. Use the journal to set milestones, and reward yourself for great behavior and goals you’ve achieved. Do a little shopping when you lose five pounds or book that summer vacation you’ve been planning when you drop a dress size. Your diet journal shouldn’t just keep you in check; it should be a place to rave about successes and share dreams.
Sources and References:
- WebMD: Can a Food Diary Help You Lose Weight?
- RealSimple: How to Keep a Food Journal
- American Journal of Preventive Medicine: Weight Loss During the Intensive Intervention Phase of the Weight-Loss Maintenance Trial