#1 Reason To Keep A Food Log
It’s extremely important to keep a food log mainly because it keeps you conscious of the foods and liquids you consume every day. Many people eat unconsciously whether they are at work snacking throughout the day or at home on the couch watching TV at night with their favorite comfort food. People have a hard time really understanding the amount overall calories they consume until it’s actually documented to review and analyze. A food log instantly puts the hard data in front of you so you can see the breakdown of nutrient information like how many grams of protein, carbs, fat and overall calories you’re eating every day. This food data is great for the beginner to see a snapshot of how the total daily intake compares with how many calories their body burns each day. This is critical for success with any weight loss program. For the advanced athlete, a food log allows them to drill down the numbers and make finely tuned adjustments to their overall macronutrient breakdown in order to optimize their diet to increase athletic performance.
#2 Reason To Keep A Food Log
The information that should go into a food log includes everything you eat and drink each day. Liquids are crucial to document in a food log since liquid calories can be huge factor for excess calories in a person’s diet. Many people don’t realize just how many calories are in their favorite coffee drink but it can add up to more calories than a fast food meal! Sodas are another key aspect to monitor and track since they not only pack a caloric punch but the majority of these calories are composed of sugar which is a double whammy because they spike insulin levels also. Along with tracking all foods and liquids you consume, its extremely important to document how you feel at each meal. Were you happy, sad, depressed, angry or frustrated when you ate your meal? How did this effect what food choices you made and the amount of food you ate? This emotional tracking in your food log is absolutely critical for really understanding what makes you overeat or why you choose unhealthy foods during the day. It also allows you to be conscious of this the next time you run into a stressful situation where food is around and what things you can do to make healthier choices.
#3 Reason To Keep A Food Log
The three rules for successfully tracking your food intake are (1) records all food and liquids, (2) records all quantities consumed and (3) make small changes for long-term success. The first rule is to record everything you eat and drink each day. It’s important to document absolutely everything since you really need to get an overall understanding of how many calories are coming in. Along with logging the foods and liquids, the second rule is to track the specific quantities of each item since you need to know how much of what item is being consumed. Recording “pizza” is not enough when keeping a food log. 1 slice of pizza is a lot different from an entire large thick crust pizza when calculating overall calories, so make sure to record the quantity also. The third rule is to make small changes once you have gathered the data. Small changes can lead to big results. Simply switching from regular soda to diet soda can drastically cut your daily calories and lead to substantial weight loss. Habits are hard to break and when someone is overwhelmed with having to make major changes with their eating plan, it usually leads to the person getting frustrated, feeling deprived and reverting back to their old habits. Making small changes each week is the best way to succeed with keeping a food log and making healthy food choices for a lifetime.
#4 Reason To Keep A Food Log
Once you have created your food log and recorded it for a few weeks, you can begin analyzing the data to see where you can start making changes. If you’re keeping an online food journal, you might have access to graphs and charts so you can visually see your nutrient breakdown and calorie intake each week and whether or not you’re hitting your goals. Another great visual tool to use with your food log is a photo tracker. Tracking your photos is very useful since it gives you instant visual feedback to see if the changes you’re making in your diet are actually resulting in changes to your physique. For example, if you’re really working hard on getting your six pack abs and have decided to start adjusting your overall calories or grams of carbohydrates, then you can analyze your food log for those weeks and compare it to your photos for the same time period. This allows you to see if your nutritional plan is really giving you the results you’re looking for.
#5 Reason To Keep A Food Log
The most common mistakes people make when tracking their food intake is forgetting to record everything they consume. This includes all food and liquids every day. It’s really important for people who keep a food log to really stay conscious throughout the day and remember to quickly record the items they consume. A great solution for people who don’t like writing everything down each time they eat or drink is to use a voice recorder for quick logging. Many of the popular cell phones have a built-in voice recorder which works great for this. Make a quick audio recording of your food intake throughout the day and then you can later login to an online food tracker to record the details directly from your voice recorder.
Once you have the data collected, another common mistake is to get frustrated when analyzing the numbers. You might think you’re barely eating anything and then you analyze the numbers and see that your overall calories are well above your daily caloric limit. This can be resolved by viewing where the majority of the calories are coming from. Most of the time, the culprit is a small selection of foods that contain a high level of calories. For example, that delicious coffee drink you pickup each day could be sabotaging your entire eating plan by packing close to 1,000 calories from fat and sugar. This one item can easily be changed by selecting either a non-fat or unsweetened version to save you hundreds of calories and bringing your overall caloric intake down to a manageable level.