Maybe you’ve heard that keeping a food journal makes it easier to lose weight. This is true because it keeps you accountable for every morsel you put into your mouth. Sometimes it’s easier to just skip that handful of candy rather than drag out your notebook and record it. At the same time, who feels good writing down the fact that they just ate four cheeseburgers for lunch? I don’t. These tips for keeping a food journal should help you be as successful as you can be.
1 Carry It with You
It’s difficult to record what you’re eating if you leave your food journal at home. To get around this, choose a notebook that’s small enough to toss in your bag. This way, you can pull it out at work after you eat your lunch or write down what you eat in a restaurant. Take the notebook to dinner at your parents' and don’t forget to take it along if you go on vacation.
2 Don’t Forget
It’s so easy to forget to record the brownie you ate after lunch or the latte you grabbed on your way to a meeting. Forgetting to record your snacks and drinks in your food journal can seriously hinder your weight loss goals because it can leave several hundred calories unaccounted for. Not only will you be frustrated, but you’ll have a hard time getting the number on the scale to budge.
3 Be Honest
Keep in mind that no one has to see your food journal except for you and perhaps your doctor, so there’s no reason to lie when you write down your foods and drinks. If you ate that second slice of cake, be truthful and write it down. The same goes if you eat the large burrito smothered in cheese instead of opting for the salad. This way, you can start to see patterns in your eating habits, so you can make changes accordingly.
4 Write down Measurements
Instead of vaguely saying you ate a quesadilla for lunch, record the size of the tortilla and the amount of cheese you used. That way, you’re better able to balance what you eat for the rest of the day. After all, you can’t lose weight if you think you’re eating less than you really are. With time, you should be able to eyeball the amount of food you’re using, which takes a bit of the work out of recording exact measurements.
5 Review It Often
Besides holding you personally accountable, your food journal allows you to detect when you’re more likely to reach for a package of cookies or are able to choose something nutritious. That way, you’ll be more aware of those times when your willpower flags so you can be mindful of what you’re putting into your mouth.
6 Make It Fun
If you’re more motivated to write in your food journal if you do so with a bright pink pen, by all means do it. Personally, I love to grab a notebook with a cute picture or fun pattern on the front of it. If a boring, mundane one makes it a dreaded task, get rid of it right away and take a trip to the office supply store for something more exciting. Use multicolored pens, let your kids draw pictures on the pages or glue your inspiration to the cover, if those things make writing in your food journal more likely.
7 Let Your Doctor Look at It
Doctors are a valuable resource because they are trained to detect the possibility of nutritional deficiencies, disordered eating patterns and roadblocks to your weight loss. When you head in for a check-up, bring your food journal with you, so your physician can give it a quick once over. He’ll be able to tell you that you should be getting more calcium or less salt.
Do you write in a food journal? They are an important part of weight loss success, so I’d highly recommend getting yourself one today.