For anyone starting a new nutritional plan, a food diary is a brilliant way to see your good and bad foodie habits and track your progress over time.
A food diary can also help regular gym-goers identify any issues that might be preventing them from reaching their goals. Enter my gym buddy Jen, a very active friend who by all appearances seems to be very healthy yet is struggling to achieve a goal she has set herself. I recommended she keep a food diary to see if there was anything that could be changed to help her out.
We learned a few things; she cannot/will not live without coffee and while she’s eating well, her portions are actually too small and she’s letting a few too many “little treats” feature in her day. The first few days of her diary keeping showed this; the following few days showed the changes she made, she also documented her mood improving.
We might think that we know exactly what we’re eating every day but the majority of us really don't. Whatever your goals are, keeping a food diary for a few days can really help you out. You can see when you reach for a sugary bar if you are skipping meals and you can then work out how to fix these habits in the long-term.
If you are simply trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle or are looking to lose weight, a food diary can help.
I don't suggest keeping a food diary every day - we’re not trying to obsess or be unrealistic here - just see if there’s anything that can be improved on if that’s what you are looking for. It can be difficult to keep an eye on eating habits especially if your day is interrupted with biscuit-filled meetings!
Food diary tips:
- Write everything you eat and drink, including how much water and tea/ coffee you’re having.
- Note the time at which you eat your meals so you can see if this lines up with when you are craving something sweet, maybe your blood sugar has dropped too low, for instance.
- Record your mood and if you’ve exercised that day.
- Take food photos if you want to see exactly what you are eating as sometimes we forget or we notice we have a very limited repertoire of meals and might need to branch out.
- Be honest! It's only yourself you’re kidding by leaving out that chocolate fix.
Give it a try if you’re looking to track progress or make changes. There might be some good or bad surprises in there!
Until next time…