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Spindaroos

Creating a Food Diary

Posted by Sara on

Creating a Food Diary

A big part of living a healthy lifestyle involves eating a balanced diet filled with good-for-you foods! Not only does a healthy diet contribute to weight loss, it also gives you the energy you need to sustain your daily routine and the motivation required each day to get your workout in. There’s nothing worse when trying to get geared up for work, kid’s activities or to get a good workout in and all you really want to do is sit on the couch and take a snooze. Choosing energy building foods will help ensure you stay energized for any activity!

We are all painfully aware of the massive variety of prepackaged foods that are on the majority of grocery store shelves these days! Real, single ingredient, whole foods are not as commonly consumed as they used to be, and we need to make sure they’re making an appearance on our plates daily. Foods like fresh veggies, fruits, nuts, whole grains and most importantly of all…LOTS OF WATER need to be a part of our everyday food intake.

Along with prepackaged food, there are about a zillion different types of ‘diets’ out there today; it can be overwhelming, confusing and frankly, a bit frustrating! Counting carbs, watching sugar intake, getting too much of one thing and not enough of another is always a gamble because unless you’re Oprah with a personal chef who can prepare each meal for you based on the doctorate degree in nutrition they’ve attained, it’s getting more and more difficult to get the right balance of nutrients, minerals, protein, carbs, etc. in your diet.

When all else fails, common sense is really the best route to take. One of the greatest tools to use when you’re trying to keep it simple and stay accountable is using a food diary. A food diary can help you keep track of the foods you’re eating, vitamin and nutrient levels along with calorie, carb and fat intake each day. This helps keep you on track for the foods you should be putting into your body every day. If you’re aware of each thing you put in your mouth and how it can either help or hinder your goal(s), it keeps you in check for reaching that goal more realistically.

Keeping a food diary isn’t difficult or time-consuming, nor does it have to be a big, formal project! You can simply jot down what you are eating and the estimated calorie content as you’re eating. And if you’re eating out, write down what you ate when you get back to your desk or home. You can keep track of your food intake on your planner, in a spiral notebook or on an Excel spreadsheet if you wanna get fancy! As long as you’re seeing what you’re eating and counting up the calories and nutrients each day to make sure you’re where you need to be to either lose weight or maintain your current weight, depending on your goals, that’s all there is to it! It encourages you to make sure you’re eating just one serving of a food, instead of two or three, which happens much more often than you would think. It also helps guarantee you’re staying within your daily allotted calorie intake.

Another nice thing about keeping a food diary is that if you feel like having a ‘cheat’ meal, you can adjust the rest of your day to accommodate for the extra fat, calorie or carb intake you’ll be having during your yum-fest. For instance, some of us LOVE getting a good burrito, pizza or a slice of cake in our belly. Indulging in foods you dig that may not necessarily be aligned to the health and weight loss goals you may have in place is not a bad thing as long as it is in moderation. And if you’re feeling like your snacking is getting a little out of hand, having a food diary can help reduce your desire to pick up that bag of cheesy popcorn and substitute it for a bowl of grapes. Accountability is the key.

Keeping a food diary may not be something you have to do long-term. Once you get used to keeping track of the food you eat each day, it becomes automatic and you adjust your lifestyle to match your new ‘habit’. You automatically check for the serving size and calories in a particular food before you eat it, then add it up in the calculator in your head and by the end of the day, BOOM, you’ve got your total calories and have made sure you’ve gotten all the good stuff you need for the day automatically. It’s like your Food Diary is in your head at all times. You’ve created a good habit!

If you have questions about how to best start your food diary, let us know. We’ll be happy to pass on a sample diary!