Dear Diary: Tracking What You Eat

If you aim to shed some pounds to reach a healthy weight, keeping a food diary can help you get to your goals. Studies show that people who keep food diaries are more likely to lose weight and keep it off.

Tracking your food in a diary can help you:

  • Be aware of what, how much, and why you are eating.
  • Eat mindfully.
  • Identify areas where you can make changes to lose weight.
  • See patterns of overeating.
  • Identify overeating triggers you can avoid.

Your food diary can include the foods you eat, times you eat, portion sizes, and notes about what you were doing or feeling at the time. You don’t have to include all this information in your diary, but it can help you identify both good and bad eating patterns. Don’t focus too much on the details you put in your diary. What’s more important is tracking your eating consistently.

If you track what you eat for a few weeks, you may see patterns that are helping or hurting you. You might identify areas of success, like eating lots of veggies. Or you might find places where you could make some improvements, like mindlessly munching and filling up on empty calories. Try not to be discouraged if you have some days when you haven’t eaten the food types or portions you wanted to include. Think in the long term. Your food diary is a helpful tool for a healthier lifestyle, now and in the future.

Your food diary doesn’t have to be handwritten. A variety of tools are available to help you track your eating, including apps from the App Store and Google Play.

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