Many people decide to focus on solving health problems at the beginning of the year. Not just visits to the doctor’s office become a priority, but also a change in diet. A healthy diet automatically means a healthier body, and in this process of great changes, a very useful dietary journal might be. It can help us understand the habits we have, but especially help us identify the food (both good and bad) that we eat on a regular day.
Research shows that people interested in weight loss keep a journal that can be very effective in changing behavior. In a study on weight loss, which was attended by nearly 1,700 individuals, those who kept a diary managed to lose twice as much weight as those who did not take this step in the process of slimming .
What does a diary have to include?
Most experts are of the opinion that the secret to a successful food diary lies in accuracy and consistency. So you probably wonder what you should write down.
What are you eating? Note as much as possible the foods and beverages you eat, but most importantly how they are cooked (roasted, baked, cooked, etc.). Do not forget to note any sauce, spice, dressing or toping.
How much do you eat? Quantities are very important, so do not forget to write them down as clearly as possible, even if you can even sing them, and if you are away from home, the best way is to estimate the portions.
When do you eat? The time you eat is very important and, in addition, these notes can help you identify “problematic hours” like midnight snacks. Moreover, in this way you can also understand the concerns you have while eating, how you feel while you eat and thus you will be able to understand certain habits that you have.
Where do you eat? Another important aspect is where you eat. Whether you are at the table in the kitchen, in the bedroom, in the car, on the street, at the restaurant, or even at home with a friend, again, these aspects can make you understand the habits you have. And make sure, of course.
What else do you do while you eat? Do not forget to note if you are in front of the computer, the TV, or talking to a family member or a friend.
Who do you eat with? It is very important to note whether you are taking a meal alone or with a child, a colleague, a relative or a friend.
How do you feel while you eat? Are you sad, happy, stressed, lonely anxious, bored, tired?
Tips to Successfully Keep a Food Diary
• Check out the food or drink right after you’ve consumed it. Do not wait until the end of the day because the data you are going to write will not be clear enough.
• Be as specific as possible with food. For example, if you drink a latte, write down the type or quantity.
• Make sure you include the alcoholic drinks you consume and, of course, in what quantities.
• Because technology is next to us all the time, you can try a mobile app to help you write down all this information. Moreover, some of them even give you information about calories and other nutrients. Thus, you will know exactly how much you have consumed.
What do you do after you keep a diary?
After completing a week in the diary, look over the whole diet and see what your diet looks like. Observe what your habits are, but especially what your tendencies are. For example, you need to consider the following:
• How healthy is my diet?
• I eat fruits and vegetables every day? If so, how much?
• I eat whole wheat foods every day?
• Consumption of food and drinks with added sugar? If so, how often?
• Are my moods affecting my eating habits? Do I want to eat unhealthy snacks when I’m stressed or tired?
• How often do I eat on the run?
Set your healthy targets
Once you have identified the issues you need to work on and need to improve, set one or two healthy goals for your diet. This means going to SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-based), ie Specific, Measurable, Realizable, Relevant, and Time-based.
Log Notes: You eat vegetables twice a day
Objective: to eat more vegetables
SMART Objective: eat vegetables three times a day.
Log Notes: Command meals three to four times a week
Objective: cook more at home
SMART Objective: Commands food once or twice a week.
Log Notes: You eat healthy snacks until 3 PM, until you reach the slot machine.
Objective: to eat healthier snacks
SMART objective: to bring a healthy snack every day.
The diary is an effective way to improve your health, and the data you ‘re collecting can help you make smart changes, but especially to successfully start adventure to a healthy body in 2019.