Is tracking food necessary? Is food journaling good for Weight Loss?
Tracking your food is incredibly helpful when it comes to weight loss. You may not realise this but there are countless benefits to keeping a food diary. I highly encourage all of my members (and now you!) to start food journaling and recording all of the food and drinks you consume on a daily basis. The WeightMatters Programme focuses on calorie counting as well as incorporating exercise and improving our physical and mental health to assist with weight loss. Keeping a food diary makes calorie counting much easier and so, is a very important step on the weight loss journey!
Does keeping food diary help with weight loss? The benefits of a food journal
Studies show that yes, keeping a food diary does help with weight loss. For many reasons! In one weight loss clinical trial, of almost 1,700 participants, those who kept daily food records lost twice as much weight as those who kept no records. Isn’t that incredible?
What should be included in a food journal? Food Journal Template
You can make your food diary as simple or detailed as you like. The more detail you put in your journal, the more you will learn about your eating habits. However, if you just wish to include the food/drink and calorie content, that is also enough! To see the full benefits from keeping your food diary, try to include the following:
- The date, day and time of your meal.
- List the food or drink you are consuming.
- How much you are consuming. You can use whatever unit of measurement you like – grams, ml, Litres etc.
- If you’re alone. It can be useful to make a note of if you are alone or eating someone. This can show us if we tend to eat more when we are with company etc.
- What you’re doing. Are you just eating at the table in silence or watching tv, or are you at work? Make note of this.
- Mood. It can be helpful to make note of what mood you are in while you are eating. Happy, sad, stressed, tired? Jot it down!
Do you want a food diary template? You can check out some easy to follow templates on Google or Pinterest!
Tips for keeping a food diary. Stick to these “rules” for your food journal:
- Include everything – you may be tempted to leave out sauces if it is just a small amount like a Tbsp. But include every single thing you consume if possible. This will give you a more accurate account of your daily calorie intake and help you plan ahead.
- Do it now! While some people fill out their diary at the end of the day, it can be hard to remember everything and so small things may be left out. Why not use a small diary that you can keep with you in your bag. That way you’ll have it at all times.
- Be as specific as you can – especially when it comes to the type of food you are consuming – Eg, don’t just say beef, say minced beef.
- Try to be accurate with sizes. One easy way to do this is to have a small food scales in your kitchen.
For those of you who may not like writing, you can also try out an app as a food diary. There are so many apps to choose from and “MyFittnessPal” is a pouplar food tracking app. It also makes it incredibly easy to count your daily calories.
What are the benefits of keeping a food diary? What is the purpose of keeping a food record?
A food diary is a great tool for assisting your weight loss and also helps us keep track of physical symptoms related to food. So if you have contemplated on keeping a food journal, now is your time to start.
- Helps with food intolerances. If you suffer from digestion issues such as bloating or abdominal pain after meals, keeping a food diary is a fantastic way to narrow down your trigger foods. It will make it easier to eliminate trigger foods and you can also bring the food diary to show your doctor on your next visit.
- It will answer so many “WHYs” surrounding your eating habits. One of these is how your mood effects your eating. Do you eat more when you’re stressed/tired/sad? With this information you can be more mindful when it comes to eating.
- Alone VS with company. Do you eat more high calorie foods when eating with a friend? Is your healthiest lunch your premade work lunch? The information in your journal will teach you so much about how and why you eat, and will help you make more conscious decisions going forward.
- Confirms if our perceptions are correct. If you don’t record your food and drink intake you may think “I don’t eat THAT much processed food”. However this may because you discount the smaller portions or forget about certain meals. Recording everything might open your eyes to a new reality. You might find that you need more variety or more fresh fruit and vegetables in your meals.
- It can make you more aware of your portion sizes. When you look back at our food journal, are your portion sizes larger than the recommended?
- Your food diary can help improve your nutrition. By seeing our daily food intake written in front of us, we can discover that we are not eating enough of a particular food group. Maybe you’re not including enough vegetables or protein!
- It can help with your weight loss! By putting all of this information together, we can change are unhealthy eating habits and make room for better ones. This can accelerate our weight loss.
How long should I keep a food diary for weight loss?
I recommend keeping a food diary the entire time you are trying to lose weight or maintain your weight. The reason for this is if we start seeing some increases on the scales, we can look back through our diary to see where we may be going wrong. This allows us to make the necessary changes to get back on track again.
However if you are keeping a food journal to detect food intolerances, you should start seeing patterns within 3 – 4 weeks.
How can WeightMatters help?
The WeightMatters approach is about simple calorie counting which may sound old hat, but when it comes to losing weight, any nutritionist will tell you that when it comes to weight management, calories will always count!
My plan incorporates calorie counting with improving our mental and physical health, and my weekly live Zoom Meetings will educate you on all things that can impact and help with your weight loss!
Remember, the WeightMatters Programme is fully remote. All you need is a phone, weighing scales and internet connection and you can take place from wherever you are! I have members in Ireland, the UK, Spain, the US and even Qatar!