A personal diary is a record of the important events of the day and your feelings. As you read over the entries you made in the past, you can relive some of those events. In fact some diaries have been the resources of books penned by people.
A food diary is no different except that the entries are the types of food you eat each day.
Why is it good to have a food diary?
This is especially useful if you are on a weight loss program. It also shows you when you ate and what you ate at particular times of each day. It tells you if you have eaten too much or if you have eaten the wrong type of food.
It is a good tool to help you lose weight.
How do you start a food diary?
Begin by having a book which you can write in as well as put in pictures. Personalise it. You can decorate its cover so that it looks attractive. On the first page you may want to place your photograph, to record how you looked like before beginning your weight loss program. Record your weight and your measurements, arms, chest, waist and hips.
It would be good to have columns where you enter the week, ( week 1 & the dates), the day, meal times, the type of food you ate, the quantity, estimated number of calories, the type of drinks and the quantity. You can also have an optional column for the cost of the meal. This will help you to have a clearer picture of where your money went to.
At the beginning of each week record your weight and your measurements. Note the time that you weighed yourself and took your measurements. This is important because you want to weigh and measure yourself at the same time each week. Then it will be a consistent record.
What benefits will you get out of keeping a food diary?
Firstly, it is a record of your weight loss journey. It will show your achievements along the way. There will be a record of when you first lost weight and how much you lost.
The purpose of recording the types of food and drinks you consumed is to let you know which types of food you like to eat and whether or not they affected your weight loss progress. It will also let you know if you have over eaten ( the number of calories), and if you have eaten too many times in a day!
You will also know if you are eating the right type of food at the different times of the day. Are you eating too much meat and too little vegetables and fruit? How many cakes did you eat during that week? How was the food cooked? Steamed, fried or boiled? Did you eat out or at home?
An analysis of your food diary will tell you if you are eating the wrong types of food and where your extra weight is coming from. It will show you where you need to cut down on the high calorie food or fattening food.
By looking at your food diary for a couple of weeks, you can begin to plan your meals. You can decide on what you will eat for the following week. You can decide what type of snacks you will have on which day, whether you will have fish or chicken for dinner, whether you will have a salad or sandwiches for lunch.
You can plan if you want to bring food from home or buy out or eat at a cafe.
By following your meal plan, your weight loss program will be more structured and consistent. It will be easier for you to adhere to.
If something happens and you cannot keep to the plan, you should note it down in your food diary. Record what took place and what you ate.
When you achieve a midway target, for example losing 5 lbs at the end of two weeks, highlight that achievement. Put a picture or an avatar there to congratulate yourself.
After you have lost 10 lbs, take a photograph of yourself and paste it in your diary. Then you can compare the first photo of yourself at the beginning of your diary and the latest one. The difference will be obvious and this will be a big motivation for you to continue with your weight loss.
Do not forget to write down your feelings when you learn you have lost weight. At the same time you can also record how you felt when you had to stop eating your favorite ice cream and chocolates. Reading these at a later period will make you remember your weight loss journey and the milestones along the way. In the future, your food diary can even be a reference for a friend who wants to lose weight.