If you have ever begun a new diet or weight loss program, I am sure you have heard the advice to keep a diet journal. This is usually encouraged at the beginning of any new weight loss program, but most people don’t heed the advice or they forget this step of the process. Keeping a journal can be time consuming, easy to forget, or just plain annoying, but evidence have continued to show that diet journals can help people lose weight faster and adopt a healthy eating plan faster.
A weight loss diary can be a successful tool for a variety of reasons, but there are two reasons that stick out. The first is the idea of accountability. When you keep a diet journal, you have to write down EVERYTHING you eat, yes even that candy bar you secretly ate at 2:00. You will soon find when you are keeping a food journal that you are less likely to sneak a treat because you have to write it down, basically keeping a permanent record of everything you have consumed. It is a lot harder to sneak an afternoon or late night treat, when you have to write it down.
The second reason a diet journal is an effective tool is the awareness it creates. After just tracking your eating for a few days, you can immediately start to see when you are having the most problems. Maybe you slip up the most in the morning, or late in the afternoon. By having a record of your eating patterns you can make adjustments to improve your eating habits, especially during the most difficult times.
Your diet journal does not have to be anything fancy. It can be a simple three-ring binder, or notebook. And if you hate the idea of carrying an extra item, there are a lot of great digital options and apps that you can put on your phone or computer. An app like myfitnesspal even calculates the calories for you so that you can track your caloric intake every day along with the foods you are eating.
The basic diet journal template should include these things: the times and meals of your snacks, portion sizes consumed, description of food eaten, how full you feel before and after and any emotions you may have been feeling. The best way to keep the journal is to write as you go, instead of waiting until the end of the day, as you may forget some of the items you ate. You can also include your daily physical activity in your journal. This will help you see how many calories you burned compared to how many calories you consumed. This can help you keep track of the amount of weight you are losing.
When I started my first diet journal, I used a small three-ring binder that I carried in my purse. At the end of each meal I would pull out my diet journal and record everything I ate and the portion size. I soon found that I liked to snack in the afternoon and the snacks usually consisted of unhealthy treats. By keeping track of my eating habits I could make immediate adjustments to the way I was eating. I now use a digital food journal because I don’t have to remember an extra item when I leave everyday. It is more convenient and easier to track my caloric intake. I have found that the journal helps me stay motivated to eat healthier and workout more often.
A diet journal is a great tool to implement in your weight loss journey. It helps you stick to a healthier diet and regular, consistent exercise routine because you become more accountable by writing everything down. By having a record of your daily activity and eating habits, you can also see what areas you can improve on and make quick adjustments that will have a big impact on your weight loss. Keeping a diet journal is easy to do and there are a lot of different apps and websites out there that are easy to use and take the guesswork out of counting calories.