How to properly keep a food diary and why is it needed?

A food diary not only helps you lose weight more effec­tive­ly and quick­ly, but it also has oth­er use­ful fea­tures. How to make the most of this habit?

Keep­ing a food diary may seem quite dif­fi­cult, but after a while it will take less and less time.

What is a food diary?

A food diary is a tool you can use to track what you eat and drink through­out the day.

Keep­ing a food diary or track­ing foods and meals is a method of mind­ful eat­ing.

What to write in your diary?

  • Record every­thing you eat and drink

The more accu­rate and com­plete your notes are, the more use­ful they will be in the future. Write down all your main meals, drinks, snacks, and even those small bites you ate when you tast­ed dish­es while prepar­ing them.

  • Mark the exact quan­ti­ty

If it’s impor­tant to you to know how many calo­ries you con­sume, this data should be includ­ed in your records. You can use kitchen scales, but if you do not adhere to exact cal­cu­la­tions, then in any case you need to deter­mine the serv­ing sizes or devel­op your own guide­lines (num­ber of spoons, cups, etc.)

  • Record the date, time and place where you eat and with whom you eat

This will help you under­stand your eat­ing habits. If you’re try­ing to change your diet or lifestyle, this infor­ma­tion can help you under­stand why you pre­fer cer­tain foods at cer­tain times.

  • Write down how you felt after you ate a par­tic­u­lar dish.

Whether you’re jour­nal­ing to lose weight or to iden­ti­fy food aller­gies, how you feel after eat­ing mat­ters. Record how you feel in a diary. — — — Also try to write down how you felt before eat­ing. This will allow you to deter­mine whether you tend to eat out of emo­tion.

  • Notice your lev­el of hunger before and after eat­ing. If you are very hun­gry, you may eat more than usu­al.
  • Remem­ber to note any symp­toms or side effects that may occur after eat­ing.

Benefits of a food diary

Helps form healthy habits

Track­ing your food and drink intake can help you bet­ter under­stand your eat­ing habits and replace them with more use­ful ones. You will be able to track what time of day you are usu­al­ly hun­gry and whether you are real­ly hun­gry, and adjust your eat­ing sched­ule accord­ing­ly.

A food jour­nal is a great tool for mak­ing more con­scious food choic­es through­out the day.

You’ll be more aware of healthy alter­na­tives and pre­pared to make bet­ter choic­es.

You can see if you are meet­ing your nutri­tion­al needs and goals. You will see if you are eat­ing too much or not enough.

Promotes weight control

If you’re try­ing to lose weight, keep­ing a food jour­nal is a great option.

Using diet self-mon­i­tor­ing meth­ods, such as keep­ing a paper or elec­tron­ic food diary, is asso­ci­at­ed with sig­nif­i­cant weight loss, accord­ing to a review of 15 stud­ies. Using a diary, you can see where you eat high-fat and high-sug­ar foods.

Determines food sensitivity

Often food logs are used to deter­mine food sen­si­tiv­i­ties.

For exam­ple, if you have irri­ta­ble bow­el syn­drome (IBS), cer­tain foods may cause diges­tive prob­lems such as stom­ach pain, gas, bloat­ing, or diar­rhea. A food diary allows you to iden­ti­fy the rela­tion­ship between your well-being and spe­cif­ic foods. Food aller­gies, acid reflux, food intol­er­ances and oth­er symp­toms are mon­i­tored in the same way.

Steps to Keep a Journal

A few steps that can turn food jour­nal­ing into a use­ful tool rather than an annoy­ing habit.

  1. The pur­pose of keep­ing a diary. If you know exact­ly why you need to keep a diary, then, first­ly, you will accu­rate­ly record the infor­ma­tion you need and, sec­ond­ly, you will be able to do it reg­u­lar­ly.
  2. Choose your for­mat. The food diary can be in paper form. Here you can describe and indi­cate many nuances. You can choose the for­mat of appli­ca­tions on your phone. Make sure that the appli­ca­tion allows you to mark the items you need. You can also com­bine these options, or use the pho­to for­mat. The main thing is that you are com­fort­able and have all the nec­es­sary infor­ma­tion.
  3. Be con­sis­tent. It’s bet­ter to write every­thing down as soon as you fin­ish eat­ing. If you add every­thing before and then want to have some­thing else to snack on, you may for­get to add this prod­uct. And you def­i­nite­ly shouldn’t put off writ­ing until the end of the day.
  4. Decide what to put in your jour­nal. It should include exact­ly what you ate and in what quan­ti­ty, and then you can expand it as need­ed. It’s bet­ter to use a min­i­mum, this increas­es the chances that you will keep a diary reg­u­lar­ly.
  5. Be pre­cise. If you want to get an accu­rate pic­ture of your diet, make sure you record every­thing in your diary as it is, not an approx­i­ma­tion.
  6. Don’t give in to provo­ca­tions. You may feel uncom­fort­able writ­ing down or wor­ry about what peo­ple will think of you or have oth­er mixed feel­ings. Always remem­ber that a food diary is only a tool to help you achieve your goals. You may have mis­takes in nutri­tion and this is nor­mal, the main thing is to write them down and take them into account.
  7. Ana­lyze. The main point of a food diary is to then look back and ana­lyze it, draw con­clu­sions and make changes to your habits. You can do this on your own or with your nutri­tion­ist.

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