"A new study in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine informs us that writing down what you eat each day can double your weight loss while dieting. 1685 overweight or obese men and women were asked to keep a food diary and hand it in weekly, exercise for 30 mins or more each day and follow a healthy balanced diet. After six months the average weight loss for the group was 5.8kg with 69% of participants losing at least 4kg. Those who stuck to their food diary lost twice as much weight as those who kept no record." (The Weekend Australian, July 12-13, 2008)
I believe keeping a food diary is essential to becoming both aware and accountable to what and when you are putting food into your mouth.
Think about your car for a second, you wouldn't fill it up until it was full and then keep filling until it overflowed. And you wouldn't let it run dry and still expect it to take you to work and back. Yet many of us do that to ourselves day after day - the down side is that our bodies don't 'overflow' until its too late! And not only do many people put either too much or too little food into their mouths but we run our bodies on cheap and nasty fuel and expect them to run perfectly day after day.
You may want to ask yourself the following questions;
- Do you really know what you are putting into your mouth?
- Do you plan your meals in advance?
- Do you know how many extra kilograms you will gain in a year from your choice of quick meals and snacks?
- Have you ever kept a food diary?
- Have you ever let anyone look at it? (or is there more to hide than those diaries from your teenage years!)
If you answer no to most of these questions it might be a wise idea to keep a food diary. It is also a good idea to make yourself accountable to someone else by sharing your food diary with them. This could be a friend or family member or choose a Personal Trainer or Nutritionist for some more advice. Feel free to contact me at email@example.com, I can offer great advice and support in one of my coaching or training programs.
I encourage my clients to keep food diaries and I asked Louis to share his experience;
"Much to my surprise, I have found keeping a food diary a very informative way of not only watching what I eat but also understanding my calorie intake especially on training days. It is very easy to snack constantly on junk food or fall into bad eating habits and by keeping a food diary it enables you to identify these patterns. It also helps you eat better by identifying protein needs and liquid requirements. As a result of keeping a food diary, I eat healthier meals, consume more appropriate drinks, train better and am fitter and slimmer"
Louis White 2008
The benefits of keeping a food diary are huge especially when you enlist the help of a professional to advise you on simple yet effective changes you can make in order to reach your health and fitness goals.
I love exercising and it is a huge part of my life but I know that exercise alone won't cut it, if I want to reach my goal I have to be accountable wit the food I eat too and I know that there is no point in wasting my hard training by not eating right.
Here are some helpful snack suggestions;
Almonds (handful - 10-15)
Vege Sticks with hommus (homemade is best, or look for low fat and low sugar)
Small piece of fruit (no more than 2 per day)
Tin of tuna in Springwater
Protein bar (check sugar and fat content)
Protein shake (check sugar and fat content)
100g low fat cottage cheese and berries
Hard boiled egg
Mmmmmm, all this talk of food is making me hungry!!!