If you are thinking of beginning your very own weight loss journey, then it’s also a good idea to start keeping a food diary. A food diary is a place where you can write down what you have consumed in a day, the calories that you have eaten, and other nutritional facts that you may find of importance (such as your intake of vitamins and minerals, fats, and carbohydrates). A food diary is a way to remind yourself about what you have eaten in a day, how you can best fulfill your nutritional and weight loss goals, and it gives you a chance to take a good hard look at your eating habits.
To make your own diary, you will need:
- A book, or preferably a three-ring binder
- A three-hole ring paper puncher
- A computer
- A printer
The best way to get started is to open up a word processing program on the computer and design sheets that you will be inserting into your food diary binder. For instance, you will definitely want to have the type of food you are eating, the serving size, and the caloric content of that food and serving. You may also want to include total fats, carbohydrates, and any other dietary information you may find important.
To help keep accurate numbers, you may need to purchase a kitchen scale, measuring cups and measuring spoons so that you know just how much of any certain food when you are eating. These will also come in handy when learning portion control, another important part of sustainable weight loss.
You may also want to keep an insert at the front of your binder that includes information on how to read a nutritional facts label, as well as how much of any given nutrient we require per day.
To kick off your food diary, break out the scale and weigh yourself. Write down your current weight, your ideal or “goal” weight, and any other sort of health goals you may have, such as cutting down on sugars or carbohydrates, lowering your cholesterol, or your blood pressure. Also be sure to add in your daily caloric intake goal and your current caloric intake.
TIP: You can also include exercise goals in your food diary, such as increasing your walking time, increasing the amount of miles you can run or bike, or entering into a 10 mile charity run.
Before you start your weight loss regime, it may be a good idea to record your current eating habits for a few days. This way you will have that information to look back and reflect on as you progress on your weight loss journey.
Tallying Up your Calories
You can choose to calculate your calories on a daily or a weekly basis. It’s also a good idea to weigh yourself and to make a comment on any other achievements or set backs that you experienced. For example, if your doctor has noticed a decrease in your blood pressure, make sure you make note of that in your diary and feel proud of yourself! Old habits die hard, and that is particularly true when it comes to diet and activity. The food diary will help you stay on track and remind yourself of the great progress you have made.