Keeping a food journal is one of the most effective tools you can use to lose weight. Whether you write down what you eat with a pencil and paper or use one of many new tools, keeping a food journal works for many reasons:
- Until you write it down everything you eat, you may not truly realize how much you are eating. When you snack a little here and there, it can definitely add up. By writing down EVERYTHING you eat, you may soon realize that you are eating a lot more than you thought you were.
- You can identify times of the day where you get off track from your healthy eating plan. For me, late afternoon (right before dinner) is where I am most prone to snack. By keeping a food journal, I realized that when I have a healthy, filling snack mid-afternoon, I am less likely to raid my pantry before dinner.
- If you are counting calories along with your food journal, you may also make some startling discoveries regarding some of your menu items. I was using my iPhone’s “LoseIt” application (which I love!) and took the time to enter my pancake recipe that I have every Saturday morning. After adding in the maple syrup and light butter I put on top them, I realized that my 3 small pancakes had over 750 calories!! Which happens to be half my target daily caloric intake… Not a good thing! So even though I love pancakes and still have them once in a while, my family now makes omelets on Saturday mornings (which are about 300 calories vs. 750).
- When you are keeping a food journal and tempted to indulge in some extra snacking, knowing you have to write down what you are about to eat can be a big deterrent.
When my weight crept up last year, I downloaded the “LoseIt” application for my iPhone and consistently lost weight for over 6-7 weeks while using it. As a sophisticated food journal and calorie counter, it definitely changed my eating habits. I quickly learned what foods were lower in calories and filled me up best. 1500 Calories does not go very far, so you have to very efficient in how you use those calories! 🙂 After sticking with LoseIt for 6-7 weeks, I had a much better idea about the quantity of food and the amount of exercise I needed to keep my weight in check. It was also very rewarding to see the line graph showing my weight loss results. I have not been using it for a month or two now, but I know it is there when I need a tool to help me get back on track again.