Tips to Keeping an Effective Food Diary

Written by: Robert Agne, Chapel Hill Personal Trainer @ O2 Fitness Falconbridge

Keeping an effective food journal is an important key to managing weight.  Whether you are attempting to lose weight or gain weight, accuracy is crucial.  Make sure to keep track of every meal and snack you consume.  Once you have a week’s worth of food logged, you can review your meals and see what adjustments can be made so you are in a better position to reach or maintain your goal weight.

Be honest about portion sizes.  Buying a food scale may not be necessary, but you can get a good estimate by comparing the portion size to items such as a deck of cards or a baseball.  The more information you can add about your food, the better.  For example, if you are adding dressing to a salad or condiments to a sandwich, write it down.  And of course, any carbonated beverages and alcoholic drinks should be included as well.

To go a step further, try assessing your mood, hunger level, and energy level along with the daily log of each meal.  Yes, your mood is frequently related to your food intake!  This is especially true if you have gone a long time without eating or if you have taken in very few carbohydrates for that day.  Keep track of your water intake as well.  Even though water contains zero calories, log it in your food journal.  You may note a lower energy level on days that you don’t drink enough water.

An accurate food journal is an important tool for helping you reach your goal weight!

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