When I’m working with clients, most of them get the exercise part, but when it comes to food here is where most struggle. Here is where a food journal helps. It’s help bring awareness to you as to what you are actually eating and to me as a coach it helps me to determine what you are eating, when and quantity. For most when they start journaling it is a very eye opening experience.
Journaling doesn’t have to be complicated. You can simply use a notebook and pen to jot down the food you eat each day. Wanna go high tech? There are plenty of free online sites where you can enter the food you eat. I’m a big fan of MyFitnessPal.com. You can log in on a computer or do it on your phone.
The benefits of keeping a food diary is that you can review what you have eaten for the day. It can be very easy to forget what you have eaten because it is something that you do without thinking too much about it.
At a glance you will be able to see if you are eating enough variety among the food groups, if you are drinking enough water and whether you are eating too much unhealthy foods.
With this information, you can decide where you can make better food choices. You can try to exchange sugary treats for a healthier alternative. You can replace certain fatty meals with a lighter option.
If you are doing this by hand or via the computer, if possible, write down the times when you tend to eat and over the course of a week, you will have information that can help you to work out where you can make changes. You will see when you tend to eat your main meal of the day. You will be able to see when you tend to snack. Is it something that you tend to do in the morning or do you snack more in the evening?
You will be able to work out if the calorie intake from your snacking is the equivalent of a whole meal. This will show you that you might not be eating enough at mealtimes and you are compensating by eating extra cookies or potato chips.
Armed with this data, you will be able to determine when and where you need to make changes. The changes do not need to be drastic. You do not need to completely change the way you eat. You may need to increase the amount of lean protein in your diet, maybe scale back on the overly starch foods and increase your water intake.
The goal of this exercise is to help you see what changes to make in your diet, then take steps to make it become a part of your everyday routine without feeling like you are on a diet.
If you decide to carry on and keep a food diary, you will have a clear record of the changes that you make in your food choices. These changes should result in a real difference in your eating habits, which will hopefully result in a healthy eating plan and a gradual successful weight loss.
I would love to hear if you use any other fitness tracking tools, I’m always looking to keep up to date. Just leave them in the comments.