One of the biggest challenges while on a diet is keeping track of exactly what you eat on any given day. This is because even when you are on a diet, it’s not necessarily the food that you eat at breakfast, lunch and dinner but many times the most important items to record are all of the different snacks and goodies you munch on in between meals that are responsible for a lot of the unintended weight gain. This is what is called “unconscious eating” and it can wreak havoc on your waistline if you’re not aware of your overall food intake. A diet journal is incredibly helpful for keeping track of exactly what you eat and it shows you where the weaknesses are in your diet and it also makes you aware of your emotional state during the day. Are you eating because you’re actually hungry or is it because you’re happy, sad, depressed or even anxious? This is where the real benefits of a diet journal come into play and can be very beneficial.
It can be tricky knowing which foods are healthy and which ones are not. A lot of the times you may assume that a certain food is healthy only to realize that it actually isn’t and that it only helps pile on the sugar, fat and calories. Keeping a food journal makes you realize exactly which foods you need to limit or completely stay away from if you want to succeed with your diet plan. Keeping a journal also means that you will measure out each portion that you eat at each meal or snack in order to figure out the specific calories that each meal consists of. What may look like a “medium” bowl of cereal may actually turn out to be much larger than you intended to have when you convert those grams of cereal into actual calories.
Keeping a diet journal makes you much more honest in accounting for what you eat. A common way you mislead yourself while on a diet is to “forget” about that candy bar or donut that you had just before lunch. By keeping a detailed diet journal you can record every single thing you eat and drink which will make you much more truthful and sincere about the process. When it’s monitored, it’s managed and this is so true when it comes to keeping a food journal. It really does make you more accountable and less likely to cheat while on your diet.
Recording your food intake helps you recognize and internalize what foods you should eat. Writing down the foods and drinks that you consume every day and the number of calories in each item helps you learn what types of food you should cut out of your diet and which ones you should stick to. You soon realize what is healthy and helpful and what isn’t.
It is easy to remember which solid meals and foods you have eaten during the day but it’s not so easy to remember the drinks and liquids that you consume. These liquid calories can be diet killers! Some of these drinks, such as the Starbucks Frappuccino that you didn’t consider recording, packs as much as 480 calories! A can of soda usually has up to 150 calories all coming from sugar and drinking 3-4 of these a day really adds up quickly. Milk may be considered a healthy drink but a cup of whole milk may have up to 150 calories while skim milk only has 80. So changing to skim milk will result in a great reduction in the calories you get from milk even without reducing the actual amount of milk you drink. Again, keeping a journal lets you calculate and realize this.
Finally, keeping a diet journal helps you make important connections between eating habits and stress, emotions, location and other situations and factors that affect your eating habits. You may realize that being with certain coworkers or friends who always end up going for fast food at a regular restaurant for lunch makes you binge on unhealthy food because of the urge to fit in. This way you are able to avoid those situations or at the very least recognize them and know how to handle them in the future.
Download our free diet journals today and start tracking your food intake to get the data you need to start making real changes in your physique! You may also be interested in our free exercise journals for tracking your workouts!