Food diaries may seem tedious—especially after doing one for 5 months as the Avaglianos have—but they are key to keeping you accountable for what you are eating. According to a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics researchers found that people who kept a food diary were more likely to lose weight than those who do not. They work for three simple reasons:
- If you have to write down eating a “bad” food, then you’re less likely to eat it.
- If you’re not losing weight, you can see why. You may even notice that maybe you aren’t recording all of those in between little snacks you’ve been having.
- If you are losing weight, then you’re doing something right and you can refer to your journal to see behaviors you need to increase.
You don’t need a special format for your journal just a small notebook that you can easily take with you or if you prefer, an online program or even a spreadsheet on your computer, that also works as well.
One key detail I recommend people write down when they note foods consumed: their mood. Sometimes it helps address other reasons you’re eating besides hunger. It’s also important to write down all of the beverages consumed because many unnecessary calories come from drinks and not food.
At the end of each week, review what you’ve written down; it will help you to figure out what you’re doing wrong or what you’re doing right!
Registered dietician Elizabeth Fassberg runs Eat Food, a New York City-based company that designs and delivers custom food and nutrition programs for businesses, organizations and individuals. She’s coaching the Avagliano family through the six-month Healthy Family Challenge.