Knowledge is power. For weight management, that phrase hits the nail on the head! Knowing what you’ve consumed in a given day and comparing that to what you need to maintain your desired weight (or to lose weight) makes it easy to stay on track day to day. It’s like balancing your daily budget and the reward is your health!
The process of writing down your food intake and exercise help keeps you accountable. It also reinforces the “To Do” behaviors for successful weight management. Here are a few tips:
Keep it simple
At a minimum, write down what you ate and the approximate serving size. You can also write down the estimated calories and the time of day you consumed it. There are also many apps out there that allow you to track easily as you go. Most have databases with common foods and if one of your food items is not already listed, you are able to add this food item to the list. Some even allow you to scan the bar codes of food as well and provide all the nutrition details.
Create a system
The more systematic the better! Make record keeping a routine that becomes a track as you go process. Our food recall is not very accurate. Your data will be more “real” when you enter it as close to eating it as possible. Plus, you can get feedback throughout the day which allows you to make better decisions. Looking back on your records at the end of the day or week does not allow you to change your course in the moment.
Find the best tool/process
Which method will work best for you? Are you more likely to be consistent tracking on your smart phone, computer or is the process of writing it all down more powerful for you? Make record keeping something that fits into your lifestyle.
Keep it rational
Weight loss and weight gain can be very emotional! Food records give you a rational explanation as to why you did or didn’t lose weight. It also provides you feedback to examine patterns. The key is to think of your records as “reporting” the news/facts vs. as an “editorial” that brings your judgement with it. It’s not about good or bad, it’s about “what is” so that you can problem solve your food and exercise levels to provide you with the results you are seeking.
Keeping record of what you eat is one of the best ways to keep yourself accountable and on track!