Dear Food Diary – Keeping a journal
A Food Diary is a daily report of what you ate, what time you ate it, how much you ate, and why you ate it. It helps you identify where you are making the wrong food choices, and makes you realize if you are eating too much too late in the day. How do you write a Food Diary? Easy. Here’s the information you need to incorporate:
Noting the time of your meals is important. That’s because as you look back at your notes you can tell how many hours it took you to get hungry again between meals, and you can then adjust the quantity and/or content of your meal. Also you will note if you are eating moderate amounts regularly throughout the day, or taking too much time between meals and ending up so hungry you are likely to overeat at the next meal.
What I ate today
The reason for writing down each food item is to keep you accountable for what you ate throughout the day. If you don’t keep track of what you ate (even small things like snacks, fruit, and beverages), the calories may easily add up without your noticing.
Be careful! Sometimes seemingly harmless things like dried and regular fruit, nuts, juices, and other drinks may actually be caloric monsters, and if consumed in large quantities can put you over your required daily caloric count.
For example, you may think drinking a glass of juice with every meal doesn’t count, but in fact a lot of juices have added sugars and can count over 100 calories per glass. Even natural juices contain sugar, so be careful how many of those you drink a day. With the exception of toothpaste, keep track of everything that passes your lips, so that you can look back over it to see where you can make adjustments.
And be honest! Resist the temptation to write down “Two carrot sticks” when indeed, you gulped down two carrot cake slices (with extra cream frosting) while nobody was looking during that boring reception you were forced to attend.
I know, I know. Watching paint slowly peeling off the wall can be more exciting than counting calories … but you do want to lose weight, right? Counting calories can seem tricky too, but this is only an estimate and you don’t have to be completely accurate. It is only meant to be a guideline to help you realize how much you are eating.
You don’t have to count calories for the rest of your life. Do it for the first three to four weeks of your new lifestyle, so that you know how much you are consuming. It will help you see if you are consuming too much and where you can make adjustments. Once you start seeing progress in your weight goal and normalize your eating schedule, you won’t need to keep track of everything you ate and how many calories it was; you will simply be continuing your healthy meal plan that works for you.
By the way, if you’re not sure of the quantity of food you ate, always write down the larger estimate of each item. In that way you are sure you are not underestimating and therefore going over your limit.
Most packaged foods in grocery stores have a content chart on the back that outlines the amount of calories, protein, carbohydrates (including fiber), sugar, total fat and cholesterol in the product. Learn to read these charts, as they will tell you exactly what you are eating and how much. Try to avoid processed food as much as you can as some may contain added sugars and bad fats (such as trans and saturated fats). Aim to buy fresh food instead but if you must have processed food sometimes, be sure to check out the fine print on the back of the package.
Comments/Why I ate it
Writing down your comments, or why you decided to eat a certain food is crucial. This is where you identify whether you are eating for emotional reasons, or because you are really hungry. It will also reveal how you felt before and after the meal (full or still hungry) in order to make adjustments, and whether or not you were craving a certain food due to emotional/physical factors.
Did you crave something sweet or starchy right before your period? Did you feel you deserved that bag of chips because you had a stressful day? Being in touch with your feelings when it comes to eating is the key to successful weight control.
Example of a Food Diary
Monday, October 1
|Meal||Time||What I ate today||Calories||Comments
(Why I ate it)
|Breakfast||8:30 am||2 scrambled eggs, 1 toast whole grain bread w/1 slice of cheese, 1 orange, 1 cup of tea||150/100/50/100
|Woke up and felt hungry|
|Lunch||midday||1 whole grain toast w/1 tbs peanut butter, 1 banana, 1 cup of tea||100/80/100
|Lunch time, feeling hungry|
|Snack||3:00 pm||15 crackers glass of soy milk||150/100
|A little hungry, was craving something salty and crunchy; waiting for an appointment, got bored|
|Dinner||7:30 pm||piece of grilled fish w/some oil, half a serving of wild rice steamed veggies||300/100/50
|Feeling hungry, had a good appetite for dinner. Didn’t want to finish the rice, so only ate half.|
|Snack||10:30pm||small cup of grapes||150||feel like a snack before bed|
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This 2-ingredient delicious dessert is 100% vegan, dairy-free, sugar-free, and completely natural! It can’t get any better than that!