How to Use a Food Journal or Food Diary Effectively
Any undertaking that involves progressive steps for the accomplishment of goals requires the ability for monitoring, measuring and modifying approaches. A food journal (food diary) is a tool that will help to accomplish all 3 of these requirements producing more beneficial and consistent results. Knowing where you are and where you want to be are important for achieving continued progress in a weight loss program and these objectives are only possible with the ability to measure both aspects. The food diary will act as a continually updating record of food consumed and should change as time on the weight loss program progresses. Let’s take a look at some of the components of a food diary.
•What is a Food Diary?
•Entries Made into the Diary
•Importance of Accuracy
•Purpose of the Diary
•Food Diary Works Best with Exercise
What is a Food Diary?
Simply stated a food diary is a journal that lists all the food consumed by someone during a given period of time. From rising in the morning, through the entire day and including the evening all food consumed is recorded. It is the central point where every ounce of food that an individual consumes is recorded for evaluation at some later time. The information recorded in the food diary will become important data that can be used to increase the likely hood that an individual weight loss program will produce satisfactory results.
Most people have no clue as far as the amount and types of food they consume in a day. Some use their emotions or hunger to calculate their food intake but this method is not accurate and can’t produce valuable weight loss information. It would be impossible to calculate with any accuracy whatsoever the number of calories they would be consuming without recording their intake with a food diary. To measure a successful weight loss program and set realistic goals will require accurate information that a food diary can provide. Once information is available moving forward in a progressive manner is much easier and will produce better results. The food diary is a tool that provides much valuable information which can be revealing to the individual whom has never recorded their food intake in diary before.
Entries Made into the Diary
When making entries into your food diary it is important to include everything that is consumed without leaving out a single item. Whether it is snacks, meals or liquids all foods consumed must be listed if the function of the diary is to be kept intact. Avoid trying to manipulate the entries and just record all foods and liquids consumed in the course of a day. For accurate information to be recorded will take honesty and this may be uncomfortable at first. It will take a degree of discipline to make certain all foods consumed throughout the day are in fact recorded in the food diary. As time goes on you’ll get in the habit of making complete and accurate entries into the food diary. The habit of recording meals and snacks will become easier and almost second nature for you. But at first it may require some purposeful intent to make sure nothing is left out of the food diary. It is important to think of the food diary as a tool which will contribute toward the success of your weight loss program.
You can think of the food diary as your bank statement and the foods that are consumed during the course of the day as deposits. Now later on it will be pointed out how important it is that the food entries are made completely and accurately for the success of the weight loss program. Your bank deposits are important to your financial health as are the entries made into your food diary toward your weight loss health. The entries made in the food diary will provide important information which can impact the effectiveness of your weight loss program.
Importance of Accuracy
During the undertaking of a weight loss program the ability to monitor and measure elements contributing to the outcome of the program are important. Obviously the amount of food, kinds of foods and the time of day the food is consumed will have a role in the success of a weight loss program. By assessing and evaluating the information recorded in the food diary conclusions can be made regarding the amounts and the nature of foods consumed for the given period of time.
The accuracy of the entries is going to play an important role of measuring and monitoring the caloric intake of the participant in a weight loss program. It is important that all foods consumed be entered into the food diary and that the entries reflect entirely and accurately the foods consumed. Once baseline numbers are established for the participant then modifications can be made which are equally as accurate and will contribute to the successful results of the weight loss program.
Purpose of the Diary
The food diary serves an important function in a weight loss program by providing the ability to measure and modify the food intake of the participant. Adjustment will have to be made regarding the amount of food, kinds of foods and the time of day the food is consumed to more effectively produce the desire outcomes of the weight loss program. By assessing and evaluating the information recorded in the food diary modifications can be made to ensure that continued results are satisfactory.
A food diary moves away from the idea that one size fits all when it comes to weight loss programs. Many different people have different food consumption habits and requirements and the food diary allows a customizing of the weight loss plan based on each individual rather then lumping everyone into a group. Some individuals may consume more food at night while others consume more food in the early hours of the day. By using a food diary those inclinations will be revealed and the modifications which will be made can be done so more appropriately with the individual in mind.
Food Diary Works Best with Exercise
A successful weight loss program entails two important facets; one is the amount of food that is being consumed by the participant and the other is the amount of calories that are being converted to energy as a result of exercise and activity. Both are important if a weight loss program is to achieve continued success and will if the program will continue to be sustainable.
It was suggested earlier to think of your food diary as a bank statement and the foods consumed during the course of the day as deposits, well the amount of exercise you perform during the day are going to function as withdraws. When the food diary is balanced from the figures given for food consumption and exercise activities a number can be reach that will indicate how many calories you are over or under. This figure will indicate the calories which need to be reduced or how much more exercise needs to be performed in order to successfully continue to achieve weight loss success. By using the suggestion given a food diary can be a tool which if used properly will help the achievement of consistent weight loss results.
Source: Bill Whitmire –Author