Dieting: Keeping A Food Log

For people out there struggling with weight loss, a food log can be a very useful tool.

There probably isn't a person alive who hasn't felt the need to diet at some point in their life. Some of us have been heavy since childhood, many women struggle with baby weight, and sometimes it creeps up on us in our middle age. With all the risk factors involved in being overweight, such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and heart problems, getting in shape is more important than ever. Many studies and health professionals say that keeping a food log is an extremely helpful component aiding in weight loss, no matter what type of diet you are on.

First, choose a medium. Maybe you want to go out and buy a beautiful journal with a serene or inspirational picture or quote on it. Maybe you want a small notebook with a bright cover so you can find it easily. Some of you may want to be more discreet and simply find a place in your dayplanner to keep your log. There will even be some of you who prefer to do it on your computer. Choose whatever works for you. Make sure it's something that you will enjoy writing in and is easily accessible to you. No, it doesn't have to go in your pocket or purse every time you go out, but it doesn't need to be thrown on a cluttered table and forgotten about for days at a time, either.

Now, your food log must become your friend. You don't need to lie to it, it will not judge you. You don't need to make yourself seem better than you are. It is there to help you accomplish your goals, and to do that you must be totally honest with your food log (and yourself). When keeping a food log, you must write down every single thing you eat and drink. Start off eating as you normally eat for a few days and record that. This will show you how you truly eat. Many people do not realize either how much or what types of food they are eating. Most people tend to think they are doing better than they really are. If we only had a sip of something, or just a little nibble of that, we forget about it because we rationalize that it doesn't count since it was such a small amount. This just isn't true. Your food log will show you how the little things can add up.



Hopefully by now you have decided what type of diet you are going to embark on. Maybe it's low fat, low calorie, or low carb. Maybe you just want to consume less sugar or eat more fruits and vegetables. Now, as you are writing down everything you are eating and drinking, write down the relevant amounts (i.e. calories, fat grams, carb grams, sugar grams, etc.). And remember to write down the amounts of everything that you ate. No cheating! A food log is also a great way to help you remember to drink your water or take your vitamins. You can get creative with it. Maybe you want to simply make check marks as you go, or draw a picture of a vitamin and color it in when you take it. You can draw a person and fill it up with water a little at a time as you drink, making your goal to get it full. Whatever helps keep you motivated and makes it seem like less of a chore.

Those are the basics of keeping a food log. It's really very simple. Now you can customize it even further. Decide how often you want to weigh yourself and incorporate that into the log. Highlight "good days" and "bad days" in different colors so you can look back and quickly see how you've been doing and whether you deserve a reward or need to have a crackdown! This also helps if you have had a momentary slip or reached a plateau in your progress. You can look back and see if there's a reason why. Food logs are very helpful and are very personal. Make it to suit your own personal needs and goals. Just remember to be honest and that it's supposed to be useful and encouraging. If for any reason your food log isn't any of these things then maybe try to change your strategy or the way you view it. In the end it's up to you.

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