Food Diary

What can help with weight management is a food diary. A food diary is a journal which you can use to track what you eat, the amount and when. As it is all too easy to eat more than we think this diary will enable you to record exactly how much you eat and where those calories are coming from.

As long as you are honest and accurate in your recording then it will benefit you. It can be difficult to note down what you eat as there is the temptation to omit a few items such as that sneaky chocolate biscuit or the bag of crisps late at night but please resist this temptation.

This diary is not there to pass judgement on you; rather it is designed to help you with setting weight loss targets.

What you may find is that writing down what you eat can be a strong form of persuasion. In other words, it can make you think twice about the types of foods that you do eat and their impact upon your weight and your health. So, if you do fancy that piece of chocolate cake, knowing that you are going to have to note it down in your diary later on might put you off from doing so.

So, write down everything that you eat and drink in a day. Even if you do succumb to temptation, note it down.

What can also help is to note down what you were doing on that day, how you felt and any activities/sport/exercise you participated in.

Food Diary (example):

Date Time Food Drink Activity Comments
Monday 7am
  • Yoghurt
  • Fresh fruit (banana)
  • One slice of wholemeal toast
Cup of tea   Nice, healthy start to the day.
  10am Piece of cake     Someone’s birthday at work. They had brought in some cakes so I gave in and had one.
Feel guilty!
  1pm Chicken salad sandwich on multigrain bread (low fat)
An apple
Bottle of water Went for a 45 minute run at lunchtime. Feel better after the run and a healthy lunch.

If you had a day where you were bored or felt stressed then you might have eaten more than you should or have snacked on sugary carbohydrates such as biscuits or chocolate.

Don’t worry if you have done so: no-one is perfect and we all have bad days where we give in to temptation. The main thing is to recognise this and get your weight management programme back on track. One day is not going to make a difference, but several days will do so.

Your food diary can be a small, pocket sized notebook or an Excel spreadsheet. Whatever format it comes in, find what works for you and stick with it. If you have managed to lose weight and are currently maintaining a healthy weight then you will not need to use it quite so often. Just refer back to it if you find that you have regained weight or notice that the number of ‘treats’ has increased.

Healthy weight Guide Index:

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