The Weight-Loss Diaries

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You can record your food diary on your computer or use a website or app. One example of a free website you can check out is ChooseMyPlate. Go to online tools, and then click on "SuperTracker. Also note the many resources at ChooseMyPlate. Once you've determined which method is best for you, record the food, the amount eaten, and the calories consumed every time you eat something.

Other notes you may want to include in your food diary are:. It's best to record the food in your diary immediately after you've eaten, rather than waiting until the end of the day. Your log will be more accurate if you do track throughout the day because you won't forget what you ate. Also, keep your diary in a noticeable place such as on the kitchen counter, so you'll be reminded to write down the food and beverages that you consumed.

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Be accurate in your estimation of portion sizes you consume. At first, you may need to measure what you are eating. Don't assume you are having one cup of cereal for breakfast.

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Actually measure it to see how much you are pouring into your bowl. You may be surprised. People often eat much more than they realize.

HOW TO: Health journal + journal tour

After you've kept your food diary for a couple of weeks, review it to get a realistic picture of your current eating habits. Recognizing eating triggers is an important first step in getting control of them. For instance, your diary may show that your eating is triggered by boredom rather than hunger. That's a signal to develop other ways of relieving boredom. If extreme hunger is the trigger, smaller, more frequent meals and light, high-fiber snacks might be the answer.

Keeping a food diary requires a little discipline, but it is worth the time and effort.

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Those who do keep one regularly are the most successful in changing their lifestyle and losing weight. Thank you for your submission! Tracking your food intake is a great tool for weight loss. Food: potato chips. If you find that food and certain emotions are linked for you, you may be able to learn to deal with those emotions in a healthier way than reaching for a snack, such as practicing yoga, meditating or even listening to music, Dixon says.

Read more: 25 of the Best Stress-Relief Techniques. Aim to regularly choose lower-calorie and nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy and lean protein, Rizzo says, which help support good health beyond just weight loss. Want to lose weight or be healthier? Join MyPlate Calorie Counter today for access to free meal plans, healthy recipes and at-home workouts!

Taking note of your appetite helps you understand it better, and trying to ignore hunger pangs can skew your data.

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The issue here is twofold: Ignoring hunger now can cause you to become ravenous and eat too much later on, and it also makes you less likely to notice patterns in your appetite that may be helpful in meal planning. You have to keep track of portion sizes for a food diary to be an effective weight-loss tool.

After all, calorie and nutrition content will vary depending on how much of a food you consume. For packaged foods like KIND bars, you can easily scan the label for nutrition facts. But for produce and protein, like blueberries or chicken, you have to measure or weigh them to accurately determine their nutrition content, says Rizzo, who recommends investing in a food scale for this reason. She recommends writing down everything that goes into your mouth within 30 minutes of eating it, which will help you identify a lot of empty calories you may otherwise forget about.

This is especially true for liquid calories, she adds. If weight loss is a goal and you're in a plateau, sometimes just cutting out that soda or bit of juice can make a huge difference. Consider beverages just as important as food in your diary. Is the motivation to keep a food diary internal or external? Without the internal motivation to track your progress and maintain the discipline required, you'll be likely to burn out shortly after starting.

It's not just about what you're eating but also when. Writing down the timing of your meals and snacks can help you discover patterns that reveal why you're eating. Is it during "lunch" hour even though you're not hungry, but because you're used to that time? Is it when you're bored or watching television late at night? According to an April survey published in the journal Appetite , the majority of people are unable to estimate the caloric content of most food. Researchers showed images of common food items to individuals, and found that 35 percent of the high-calorie foods were misperceived as being low-calorie foods.

Translation: Your food diary is going to be helpful, but probably not completely accurate. This may give you a better idea of what you're really eating," says Dixon.

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The Weight-Loss Diaries The Weight-Loss Diaries
The Weight-Loss Diaries The Weight-Loss Diaries
The Weight-Loss Diaries The Weight-Loss Diaries
The Weight-Loss Diaries The Weight-Loss Diaries
The Weight-Loss Diaries The Weight-Loss Diaries

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