As a chronic overeater, it is incredibly easy to lose track of what you are eating throughout the day. Face it, if you are eating as little as you think – you likely wouldn’t be struggling with being overweight in the first place. With every fitness plan I have been on, a requirement has been to keep a strict food journal. I have dozens of food journals that are partially filled with hopeful attempts to record what I am actually eating. The first day of the food journal is usually great, I record my meals and brush my hands off – my work is done. Until I realize that since I am being aware of what I eat I have subconsciously altered my normal eating habit! No way have I eaten apples for breakfast and grilled chicken for lunch each day, surely I got fat somehow! So how did I?
When starting to write a food journal, making sure you are eating exactly what you normally eat for a few days is critical. This allows you to see what your actual eating habits are and where cuts need to be made. Looking at it from a science and nutrition point of view, it takes a reduction of 3,500 calories to lose a pound. This can be through exercise, nutrition, or preferably both. So tracking at least 3 days worth of data is imperative to know where you are starting. It also helps you open your eyes to what you are really shoveling into your mouth each day. I was astonished when I saw just how much I was consuming. I wanted to cut my calories to 2,000 a day but on average I was consuming about 3,000 – 4,000 a day. And I realized I ate constantly! Hungry or not. Mindful or not. Food seemed to always be on my mind….and in my mouth. Even now I struggle with keeping an up to date food journal daily but with technology today it’s a bit easier. There’s two main methods I recommend for tracking. On paper or on the go.
On Paper – This is when you have a tiny journal or notebook (something you can fit into a purse or take with you easily) and you just record every bit of food you eat. In one weight loss program we called this every BLT – Every Bite, Lick, and Taste. If you eat or drink it, record it! This is good for a general overview of what you are eating and how often.
Online/Apps – This is by far my favorite way of tracking because it is often more detailed and when are we ever truly without our phones or an electronic device. Most weight loss programs have their own tracking App – my favorite, absolute FAVORITE app is MyFitnessPal which isn’t affiliated with any specific plan and it gives you a breakdown of all your nutrition for the day when you complete your log. PLUS – you can scan the barcode of your food for quicker entry! I love it! Need more accountability or can’t remember what you ate? Snap a picture of it and review it!
Tag me (@curvylogic) and I’ll even remind you to log it lol
Whether you do it on paper or on an app, tracking your food intake with a food journal has been a proven weight loss success tip for those who have lost weight and kept it off!