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31 Days to a Healthier Diet - March 1: keep a food diary

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

This advice, as written, really seems to be aimed at the newbie.. keep a diary for 5 days and use it to see where you stand in terms of the number of calories you've been eating, etc.

For those of us who have been at it for a while...I know the experts tell us that studies have proven that people who keep a food journal are more successful in losing weight, but I've got a theory about that. I think the reason those people are successful is that they are motivated to lose, and being willing to take the time to journal what they eat is part of that uber motivation that it REALLY takes to lose the weight. Not that there might not be things we can learn about ourselves by looking back at what we ate when and under what circumstances, but let's face it, you are either ready to do it or not ready. And if you are not ready, no amount of food journaling is going to keep you from eating that sleeve of oreos!!!

I do track my food. It helps me to know how many calories I've eaten and how many I have left. It helps to see if I've eaten enough fiber and other nutrients that I track. But I'm the first to admit that I start the day tracking well and don't necessarily finish. When I do finish, it usually means I've had a pretty controlled and good day in terms of eating. But I do know folks who don't need the tracker after they've been at it for a while. I think the more variety of foods you eat, the more you might need the tracker to help figure out calorie counts and the like. If you are one who tends to eat the same thing day after day, the tracker is probably less important after a while.

In addition to tracking the food, I sometimes make notes about the circumstances of my day. Because sometimes you can learn a lot from knowing what was going on on a day that you eat particularly well, or that you eat particularly badly. You might discover that you tend to eat out of emotion when your child has given you a hard time; or you might discover that you eat better on days that you are in a routine, like a weekday. I get the hungry horrors when it snows. I tend not to have the urge to eat at night when I have evening activities, and also when I have had a filling dinner. So I don't "save" calories for after dinner.. I usually want my last eating of the day to be done at dinner, because one little bite usually opens the floodgates for me. All stuff learned from looking back at my food tracker and my occasional notes of things that strike me..

Have a Sparky Day!!!!!

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