Saturday, January 5, 2013

Write it down!

You've heard plenty of advice about how to make 2013 a healthier year, and perhaps lose a few pounds in the process.
Our local newspaper ran a story that listed 5-6 tips for staying on top of weight management, and most of them are well integrated into my life. (Eat breakfast every day, walk a lot, etc.) The one thing that I couldn't say I do all the time is keep a food log. However, it definitely has become the ONLY way I can lose weight: to write down most everything I eat in a day, with a rough estimate of how many calories I've consumed at each meal or snack.

According to an article on the site Live Strong, keeping a food diary has several benefits, which include keeping you motivated to make healthier food choices, get a handle on emotional eating (if you also record how you're feeling each time you chow down), and lose more weight than those who don't keep a journal. The article in our local paper also cited a study showing that people who do write it down consume 15% fewer calories per day/week than the non-diarists. That may not sound like a lot, but I know that I'd be several pounds thinner in not too many weeks at that reduced calorie intake.

Here are a couple of websites where you can download a food journal template:
Healthy Eating Starts Here
Personal Food Guide
Food diary templates from Microsoft Office

Frankly, I've found most of them to be too complicated so I made up my own more simple grid. Across the top are the days of the week, and below that are grids (labeled along the left side) for Breakfast, Lunch, Snack, Dinner and Snack, with a Total Calorie Estimate at the bottom of each day.

Give it a try!

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