Dear Diary, for Breakfast I Ate ...
Keeping a food diary is a powerful tool in assessing how you eat and why you eat the way you do, experts say. What’s more, tracking exactly what you munch can help you pinpoint your problem areas and design an appropriate eating plan that’s best for you.
In a recent study from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, adults who were encouraged to eat a healthy diet and be physically active kept food diaries for six months and lost almost 13 pounds on average. Keeping a consistent food diary was key—those who kept records six days per week lost twice as much weight as those who kept food records only one day per week or less.
Here are some tips from experts to help you use a food diary:
• Record your eating all day. Tracking as you go helps keep you accountable.
• Tell the truth—even about extras and snacks. A single piece of chocolate or grated cheese on your salad still counts. Keeping track is especially important on days you yield to cravings.
• Learn your portions. Practice measuring portion sizes at home so you don’t underestimate your intake.
• Personalize your diary. Whether it’s a notebook or an app for your smartphone, use what works best for you.
• Trust your home cooking. When you make your meals at home, you’ll know what the food contains and have more control over what you eat.