Food is your fuel!
Many of us struggle with losing weight and getting healthy. Over the 25 years I have been in the health and fitness industry, I have concluded that achieving your ideal weight really comes down to what you eat. Studies show how you look and feel is 20% exercise and 80% nutrition.
Food is your fuel! It is extremely important to make sure you not only choose healthy foods to eat, but also that you pay attention to portion control and establishing a well-balanced diet.
Sounds easy, right? Not so much. Many times we believe we are eating healthy, taking in the right amount of calories and keeping our portions under control. However, we don’t see the numbers on the scale changing. Most of us, just guess that we are making the right choices.
One extremely helpful tool everyone should use to conquer that scale is to keep a food log. But many of us don’t know exactly how to go about keeping a food log the right way and make it a useful and convenient tool in our weight loss endeavors.
Here are my top 11 tips on how to keep a food log:
1. Get a portable journal… Whether it is an app on your phone or a small journal that fits in your purse. The easier it is to keep with you, the more likely you will be to use it. Apps on your phone make things very convenient to enter, no calorie look up on your end. My favorite app is My Net Diary.
2. Write down as you go… Write down what you eat at every meal. Don’t wait until the end of the day. Waiting until the end of the day, makes it too easy to consume more calories for that day then you intended. If you log as you go, you know where your calorie count is before it is too late. Writing it down as you go also improves your memory of what you ate and how much you ate.
3. Portions, Portions, Portions…. Don’t estimate how much you ate, actually measure and record the exact portion you ate so you are more likely to document accurate information.
4. Write EVERYTHING down…. no cheating. If you grab a hand full of M&M’s, write it down. Don’t conveniently forget it, even if you feel a little bit guilty. If you are not honest about what you eat, you cannot acknowledge your true eating patterns and prepare for them next time.
5. Who, What, Where and When…. Whenever you have a moment of weakness, make a quick note in your journal of the circumstances that surrounded that moment. For example, if you did not eat a vegetable all day, was it because you were on vacation and vegetables were not easily accessible?
6. Eat at Home as Much as You Can… It can be challenging to accurately document portions and food when you are ordering from a restaurant. And I don’t know about you, but I usually under guess my calorie consumption. I can be more accurate with my calorie consumption when I eat at home.
7. Drinks are Calories Too… Make sure you record all beverages in your food diary. Coffee, creamers, sweet tea and cocktails all have calories that count toward you daily intake, so make sure you include your beverages.
8. Take a Look Back…. Make sure you take time every week to look over your food journal. This will enable you to make note of your patterns of eating. It can give you information, so you can make your goals for the week ahead. I usually review my journal on Sunday afternoons before I go to the store. Therefore, I can prepare my meals for the week ahead based on those trends.
9. Set your Goals for the Week Ahead…. Write down your goals for the week ahead based on what you discovered by reviewing the past week. Set yourself up for success by taking time to plan.
10. Don’t Forget the Extras…. Make sure you log all your sauces and condiments. These things can be a big source of extra calorie consumption. Make sure you record that dollop of sour cream, the salad dressing on your salad and the ketchup for your fries. It all counts.
11. I Think I Can, I Think I Can…. Logging takes practice and perseverance. Keep working on it, no matter what. It will pay off in the end.
Remember, you deserve to be healthy, strong and successful. If you struggle with some of these tips, a health coach can help.
Contact ABS Pilates today and get started on the road to a better, healthier way of living tomorrow!
***Remember all these suggestions are general in nature. Consult your health coach or physician for suggestions specific to you.***