Keeping a food diary is an excellent weight loss tool

Keeping a food diary is an excellent weight loss tool that many have used successfully. You can write your way to losing weight and feel good about your achievements along the way because they are right there in black and white.

People keep diaries for many different reasons including a record of daily activities, a record of wedding plans, a record of pregnancy or a job search or symptom diary to help your doctor diagnose a disease. Keeping a diary is not a new idea and it can help you to put into words your feelings about food and your eating pattern. A record is useful for detecting patterns and for recognizing what needs changing or improving. A diary can also be a record of your achievements so that it is easy to celebrate those smaller victories that lead up to that one big goal. Keeping a food diary is an excellent way to keep your diet on track.

Many dieticians recommend keeping a food diary because if you have to write down what you eat you are more likely to think about what you are putting into your mouth if you know you have to record it. A food diary when a doctor or dietician reads it can help with menu planning or when counseling for food addiction because you don't have to remember everything, just write it down and bring it to your next appointment. It is also more difficult to cheat when you know you have to write it down. After a while you become guilty if you try to NOT write it down…. it becomes an addiction to write everything down, but a good addiction, because this one is actually good for you because it helps you to lose weight.

OK...how do you keep a food diary?

Use a notebook or journal for your food diary.

Find a picture that show well how you look now and tape it to the cover of your notebook.

Keep the notebook in full view in your bedroom or in your kitchen so you won't forget to write in it everyday.

Use a motivation inside the notebook such as periodic picture taped to pages that show a slimmer you as the months pass, or you can use stickers when you are faithful at making diary entries, or every time you lose a few pounds.

The entries should include the foods you eat and the portion sizes and also put each food item into a food category. Categorizing each food entry allow you to see if there are any food categories that you are missing or that you are eating too much of. Record your weight weekly in your diary. You can use your food diary for meal planning. Don't be afraid to indulge once in a while in comfort food, just don't overdo it. If you deny yourself you might end up ditching the diet all together, indulging once in a while gives you satisfaction and can also be used as a motivator if used as a reward.

Know your weight loss goals! Have a weight goal and a date to achieve it. Make the goal and the date realistic and write both done in your food diary.

Make writing in your food diary fun by setting the mood for writing. Turn on your favorite music, use your favorite pen, use colorful stickers, or colored pens to make the food diary interesting and fun to write in.

Once the pounds start coming off the time and energy invested in keeping the diary will be realized and you will find the emotional rewards of keeping a diary to be almost as satisfying as losing the weight.

Keith Ckardwell is a

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