Keeping a food diary

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Why you should keep a diet diary

Some people love them while others can think of nothing worse than having to write down every single think they eat and drink in a day. Diet or food diaries are effective though and as such can play a powerful role in weight control. So if you are not getting the results with your diet you are hoping for, here are the reasons why keeping a food diary supports weight control.

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1. We eat more than realise

Human beings will underestimate how much they eat each day by up to 50% – this means that we basically forget up to ½ of the calories we consume each day. This is not necessarily intentional, rather day to day life results in us mindlessly eating a couple of hundred calories each day – the extra biscuit, or serve of dressing, or cup of coffee sneaks in. Keeping an accurate record of everything we put into a mouth is one of the easiest ways to become more aware of how much, or sometimes how little we may be eating. 

2. Our portions are much bigger than we realise

An accurate food diary will include weights and measures of our food – when we occasionally measure our food volume accurately, we suddenly become aware that our portion of salmon at night is actually 250g as opposed to the 150-175g we really need; or our glass of wine is double a standard serve of alcohol. For many of us this is where a lot of our extra daily calories sneak in, and why keeping on top of our portions is a key aspect of portion and weight control.

3. It holds us accountable

For many of us, if no one sees it, or if it not documented, it does not exist. This is one of the major reasons that accurate food records are so powerful, they show clearly how much you really eat on a daily basis. When you see things written down, or even better with a calorie count next to them if you use online APPS that include calories, it suddenly becomes apparent when you are eating way too much, too often. 

4. It helps us to identify dietary patterns

Human beings so not regulate their food intake over a single meal, rather we have patterns of consumption. Seeing your food patterns clearly documented can give insight into when you are most hungry, when you are likely to under eat and as such likely to also overeat. When we become more aware of these patterns we are in a much better position to manage our own daily food intake better. 

5. It can double weight loss

It has repeatedly been shown that the simple act of keeping a food diary supports better weight loss outcomes for dieters wanting to lose weight. Naturally documenting your food intake helps you to make better food decisions, to keep mindful about the types and volumes of food you are consuming and ultimately helps us to eat less. So if you know your diet needs some work, just keep a record for a day or two, especially if you can utilise a calorie monitoring program. Indeed you may be surprised at how much you are actually eating each day, and even better how easy it is to cut back.