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Common Challenges: What's so great about a food diary anyway?

How am I going to add one more thing to my plate?  I really don’t have time to stop what I’m doing and write down everything I’m eating and drinking.  I
get it.  You’re busy, you’re frustrated. All you want to do is lose weight, but you just can’t add one more task to your plate.  Let me stop you right here.  Have you bought any weight loss books?  How about cookbooks, how many of these have you purchased?  Have you joined a gym in the past or currently?  Have you started yoga or zumba?  Did you recently buy weights, an ab roller, or thigh master?  What is all this costing you, has it worked, and if it did work did you sustain the weight loss?  My guess is for most that even if it worked you weren’t able to sustain the weight loss leading to more frustration and less money in your savings.

This is why the food diary is a great tool for you.  It’s evident you want to make a change.  You’ve made it a priority before with the purchases you’ve made. Why not start doing something that’s free this time?   A food diary is a little time consuming, it’s trivial but it works.  It works because without writing down everything you eat and drink, it is impossible to figure out how many calories you consume in a day.  Without figuring out how many calories you consume in a day, it is difficult to figure out how many calories you need to cut, or how many calories you need to add to help your metabolism work efficiently. 

If you want to make changes that will turn into a lifestyle overhaul, start keeping a food diary.  Have access to the internet?  You can use myfitnesspal.com, Sparks People, Fit Day, or mypyramid.gov.  All of these programs have a large database that you can choose from and compile a daily intake report.  Don’t have access to the internet?  Keep your food diary and make an appointment with a dietitian.  The food diary will be reviewed at the initial assessment and recommendations will be made to tweak your daily intake.

Don’t know how many calories you should be consuming?  This is where the dietitian comes into play.  Yes a lot of the websites, will give you an average recommendation, but only a dietitian can do a thorough assessment to put your where your calorie level should be.

I think the best thing about the food diary is the ability to see patterns and visibly correlate your success with the changes you make.  Also, for many who use the internet based food diaries, the ability to learn the calories in foods becomes ingrained in your brain and helps with decision making with menu planning, grocery shopping, and assisting with choices at a restaurant. 

Yes I’m a fan of the food diary.  All of my clients keep one and some are getting to the point where they can predict their weekly weight loss by just looking at the weekly intake.  It’s an amazing thing!  Take the time to do this for yourself.  Be accurate, relax, and allow yourself to learn a little. The results will make you happy!  Good luck and be well.

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