How to Lose Weight by Keeping a Food Diary

Published:April 20th, 2011

Losing weight is a major challenge for most overweight and obese patients. Starting a weight loss program is all that easy. But to keep doing that weight loss procedure is something most people find very difficult to do. And so, how do you keep yourself motivated to lose weight despite all the temptations you encounter every single day?

One of the best ways to keep tract with your weight loss program and to keep yourself motivated is by having a handy food diary.

What are the advantages of having a food diary?

  • It can keep you aware about all the kinds of foods you ate all throughout the day. If you are quite forgetful about the details of what you did for the previous hour or days, having a food dairy is something that can keep you on track with your weight loss diet. Knowing the foods you ate for the past few meals can help you estimate the total calories you already had. And it can also help you compute for the amount of calories you can still take in.
  • It can keep you informed about the nutrients you have taken in. Not sure if you ingested the right nutrients in the exact amounts? Well then, try having a food diary. Listing what you ate can give you an overview about how healthy your meals were. And you can even show your diary to your doctor and your dietician so that they can give you inputs on how you can possibly improve your dietary and nutritional intake despite of the medical problems you can possibly be having.

How do you make a proper food diary?

  • Know how much you ate of the good thing. Estimate the size of serving you had for a particular food. This way, you or your dietician can estimate the amount of calories and other nutrients you have taken in.
  • Know what kind of food you had. Knowing the proper classification of the foods you have taken in can make you aware of the overall nutrient value and caloric value you have taken in. Always remember to include all the condiments, sauces and gravies you had with your food. Oh! And don’t forget to include the other extras you had such as the butter, the sugar, the dressing and even the soda that you drank with your meal.
  • Never forget to indicate the time of your meal. Always make sure you indicated when you ate that particular food.
  • Indicate where you ate the food.
  • Don’t forget to write down who you companion was when you ate it.
  • List down the activity you had when you ate that food. Were you watching TV when you pigged out? Were you trying to work and eat at the same time? You see what you are doing can have an influence to the behavior you have towards your food.
  • Describe your mood when you ate that meal. Were you happy or sad when you ate that sinfully delicious chocolate cake? Were you pressured when you tried to eat two plates of crispy french fries? Listing your mood together with your food’s list can make you aware about the mood that can trigger a binge-eating behavior.
Tips in keeping a food diary:
  • Ask your doctor first before starting a dietary modification. Your analysis may not be the same with your doctor. And since your doctor is more of an expert compared to you, it will be much useful for your situation to rely on his medical expertise when it comes to your diet and your weight loss plans.
  • Never lie when it comes to listing what you ate in your food diary. There is no point cheating in your own diary, right? So why do you need to lie when listing down what you ate this morning? You know deep inside that what you wrote in not true, so why not spill it out? after all it is your very own food diary so you should be honest and true with what you are writing.

What are the rules in using your food diary?

  • Always write the truth.
  • Be particular and specific in the time, place, companion and mood you are in when you had your meal. The more specific you become with your write-up, the easier you can analyze your present situation and the more motivation you can have with your weight loss diet.
  • Do it as soon as you can. Accept it or not, most of us are forgetful, especially if we are quite too busy all throughout the day. And so, the best way to prevent yourself from forgetting the details of your meal is to write them right away in your handy food diary.


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