Whether you’re on the HCG diet or some other fitness plan, keeping track of what you eat is essential for success. It can be difficult getting started (and then sticking with) keeping a food journal, though. The effort will definitely be worth it, especially when you finally get to put on those jeans you’ve dreamed of fitting into for years. Read on to learn why food journals are so important (especially during winter time) and the big secret to keeping one.
Why Food Journals Matter
There’s a reason diet professionals almost always suggest keeping a food journal: they work. Keeping a food diet is a powerful indicator of whether you’ll actually lose weight. It’s also neat to look back and view your eating habits change as you progress on your diet. Some other benefits include seeing:
- What you need to cut out of your diet
- What you need to add to your diet
- What times of the day you eat and how often
- How you can better plan your meals
- How successful you’ve been in your attempts to change your eating habits
If you want to lose weight on your diet, don’t skip out on a food journal. You’ll lose up to twice as much weight by keeping track of what you eat. Plus, when you’re enjoying all those holiday meals, you’ll know exactly how much you’re eating and how that will affect your meal planning in the future.
The Secret Method to Successfully Counting Your Calories–Even on the First Try
Have you ever tried–unsuccessfully–to keep a food journal? Many well-intentioned dieters vow to watch what they eat, but they have a very difficult time sticking with it. Other dieters don’t know where to start tracking their meals.
One secret to success is what we’ll call the 24/7 method to food journaling. Here it is:
Get a food journal you can carry with you at all times, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Never let this journal leave your side.
This may sound obvious, but it’s what numerous successful dieters and health professionals swear by. Here are the benefits to carrying a journal with you all the time:
- You’ll be more mindful of what you eat if you know you’ll have to write down how many calories it contains.
- It’s easier to keep track of food as you go instead of trying to remember everything you ate at the end of the day.
- It makes keeping track of snacks easier, too.
- Over time, writing in your food journal will become a habit. Eventually, you’ll go nuts if you forget your journal and can’t immediately record your meal on the go!
Whether you use a small notebook, a smartphone app, or some other way to keep track of your food, keeping something that’s with you 24 hours a day will make the difference between yet another failed diet and a successful transformation to healthy eating.
Try These Tips to Successfully Track Your Food
Need some help getting started with your food journal? Follow these tips to increase your likelihood of success.
Carry a Notebook
Many people swear by carrying small, pocket-sized notebooks you can easily throw in a purse or pocket. It’s also a great conversation starter when you pull it out after a meal–an additional bonus since talking about your goals is a great way to help you accomplish them.
Remember to write down what you ate, what time you ate, and how many calories were in your meal (you can calculate calories later if you need to). You can also include information like how many grams of fat the meal contains if you’re trying to keep track of something specific. Remember to carry a pen!
Try an App
If the novelty and convenience of technology appeal to you, you may do better with a smartphone app than a notebook. Smartphone apps make it a breeze to keep track of your calorie count.
For example, the popular app MyFitnessPal (iOS, Android) comes pre-programmed with thousands of food options both from your grocery store and your favorite restaurants. You simply have to look up what you ate for your meal, tell the app how much you ate, then add it to your daily food intake. If you don’t have your smart device with you, you can go to the MyFitnessPal website and upload your meals there. With goal planning, long-term tracking and more, MyFitnessPal is one of the most popular apps on the market for getting in shape. Best of all, it’s free.
Another popular app is Calorie Counter (iOS, Android, Blackberry). While it’s not as robust as MyFitnessPal, it makes it easy to look up the calorie count of just about any food you could eat. It makes a great companion to a food notebook, and its simplicity is a big draw for many users. Calorie Counter is also free.
Find a Buddy
Whether it’s a friend, spouse, or someone else, having another person keep a food journal with you is a simple but effective way to stay motivated. You can share success stories, what you’ve learned from watching your diet, tips to stay on track and more. Dieting is always easier with a buddy.
It’s Simpler Than You Think
Whether you keep a notebook, use an app, or find some other way to keep track of your food, tell yourself you can do it! Anyone can learn to keep a food journal. It may take some work to make it a habit at first, but eventually it will become second nature. It only takes a minute to begin a food journal, so start today!
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