10 Tips To Keep A Food Journal

diet diaryWe have established earlier, the need and the importance of keeping a food journal or a diet diary for effective weight loss; here are some tips to help to start and maintain one:

  1. Make up your mind to keep a journal and be faithful to it. Write in it every day, and be regular honest in jotting down everything that you eat in a day.
  2. Don’t cheat. This may be self evident, but bears repeating. If you cheat, you are only fooling yourself. Accuracy is the key to deriving any benefit from maintaining a food diary; you have to be prepared to be fully honest. Anything you eat that is larger than a crumb merits a mention.
  3. Pick a format that works for you. You can have a physical pen and paper journal, or a digital one. When going digital, you can start an Excel file that will also help you with making calculations if required or you can take the help of online sites such as ‘Fit Day’ or ‘My Calorie Counter’, which will help you keep track of your intake.
  4. Eat at home. You cannot accurately estimate what you have on your plate when you’re at a restaurant; whereas with home cooked food you have a reasonably accurate estimate of the calories you consume.
  5. Be specific. Rather than “a bowl of cereal” or a “glass of milk” try and be more accurate about measurements – cups, grams, milliliters etc will give you better caloric representations.
  6. If you find that at the end of the day, you are not able to recall everything that you ate during the day, then write things down as and when you consume them. This way you don’t miss out anything.
  7. Set short term goals, such as staying off a favorite dessert for a week and so on. Your diary will help you keep track of such short term goals and if you manage to stick to the plan and achieve your goal, you can treat yourself to a little something. This keeps you happy and motivated.
  8. Don’t forget liquids. A considerable number of calories sneak in by way of sugary drinks; tea, coffee etc. so don’t forget to record those.
  9. Review and analyze your eating patterns, to see where you can cut down, make improvements and adjustments to create further gains.
  10. Use the journal to tot up the total calories consumed to help to find out if you are eating too many and also to determine if the source of your calories; healthy or unhealthy.