What is a food diary?

The term ‘food diary’ refers to a log or a list of what you eat and drink each day. Writing down what you consume can assist you with making changes to your diet as well as losing weight. Studies have revealed that keeping a food journal can be a very effective tool to help change behaviour for people who are interested in losing weight. In one study, which consisted of nearly 1 700 people, those who kept daily food records lost twice as much weight as opposed to those who did not keep a food diary.

It is possible to use your food diary in order to correct your health through the process of keeping a track on what you eat as well as what you drink. In addition, a food diary will assist you as well as your doctor in order to understand your eating habits.

A food diary is the start on the journey to improved health

Most nutrition and dietary experts are in agreement that the secret to successful food journaling is accuracy and consistency. So, what should you note down? Here are include several pieces of information in your food diary on a daily basis. These are the following:

  • How much: Note down the quantity of the food and/or drink. This may be measured in volume (1/2 cup), weight (2 grams) or, alternatively, the quantity of food (12 chips).
  • What kind: Make a list of the type of food and/or drink that you consume. Be as precise as you can. Don’t forget to write down the extras, for example toppings, sauces as well as condiments. For example, butter, tomato sauce or sugar.
  • When: Remember the time of day that you eat.
  • Where: Write down where you are eating. If you are home, note the room. For example, at the dining room table, in the kitchen, or on the couch. If you are out at a restaurant, note down the name of the restaurant.
  • Who with: If you are eating by yourself, write down “alone.” If you are out with friends or family, list who they are.
  • Activity: List any of the activities that you perform  while you are eating, such as working, watching TV or, alternatively, playing a game.
  • Mood: Include how you are feeling when you are eating. Are you happy, miserable or bored? Your mood can be associated with your eating habits so if you identify your mood when you’re eating this can help you change your eating habits.

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Tips for successful food journaling

Here are some tips for keeping a successful food diary:

  • Write down the food or beverage as soon as you consume it. Don’t wait until the evening to write down what you’ve eaten or drunk because your recollection is likely to be less accurate.
  • As we’ve said before, be as precise as you can with the food or beverage that you consume. For example, if you are drinking a latte, write down how big it is and if it has an syrup in it.
  • Make sure to include any alcoholic beverages you consume.

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A smartphone app like Lose It! or MyFitnessPal can support your efforts. These apps also offer information on calories and other nutrients. To learn more about nutrition have a look at Trifocus Fitness Academy’s Specialised Nutrition Course.

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