Do the benefits of keeping a food log outweigh the time and effort of recording every little morsel of food and sip of liquid that passes your lips? I think it does and here's why...
Using a food log...
- Makes you more conscious of when and what you consume on a daily basis. It's easy to account for the big stuff - that piece of cheese cake, or that big turkey dinner. But it's often the little things that get you, like...
- The cream and sugar in your daily coffee.
- The butter on your morning bagel.
- The handful of peanuts you mindlessly grabbed while sitting in front of the T.V..
Allows you to gain an understanding of just how much food you need to consume to reach your weight loss goals. If you keep track of your weight or waist measurement along with your food intake, you'll soon notice whether your weight/waist size is trending up, down or staying the same. If you keep an accurate food log, you can make small adjustments to your caloric intake to help you achieve your goals.
Allows you to accurately calculate how many calories you eat. When you combine your food log with a nutrition software, you can quickly and easily find out how many calories you consume...on a meal-to-meal, day-to-day basis. Doing this is perhaps the quickest way to reach your weight loss goals.
Reveals patterns in your eating habits. Do you eat more at night than during the day? Do you eat when more or less when stressed? Do most of your calories come from carbohydrates? From protein? Or from fat? Are you eating at regular intervals throughout the day or do you eat fewer but bigger meals? Keeping a food log can help you answer these questions. Just being more conscious about what you eat, when you eat, why you eat and how much you eat can make all the difference in the world.
Keeps you focused on your goal. What you focus on becomes your reality. If you are focused on eating balanced, healthy meals you will tend to eat that way more often than not.
Most people mindlessly go through their day, grabbing food whenever they feel hungry. They give very little thought to what goes in their body.
Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of keeping a food log is what happens when you use it as a planning tool. Sit down with your food log at the beginning of every week and plan what you want to eat at each meal and snack. Doing this will help you control the amount of calories you consume and stay focused on healthy eating.
Will you stick to the plan 100% of the time. Unlikely. But what you'll find is by planning your meals, your eating habits will improve quickly and dramatically.