Have you struggled to lose weight or stay on a diet?
Chances are if you’re like most women the answer is “yes.” And you already know that it’s not ONLY about losing the weight – it’s about keeping it off for good.
If that sounds familiar to you it’s important to know that it’s not your fault.
Not at all.
The reason why most diets fail is because they rarely, if ever, address the core issue in the first place.
Let me explain…
Food, diet and mood
Most of us have a very complex relationship with food.
It’s NOT just about eating, or getting the proper nutrition we need. In fact, most of us aren’t even aware of what we’re eating when we’re eating it. What’s more, if you think about what the term “comfort food” really means you’re beginning to get to the core of the issue for most of us.
What we eat has a lot to do with our upbringing, what we “typically” ate at home. And over time that pattern of what we ate (even what we snacked on) becomes a habit for us.
And changing habits can be hard.
What we choose to eat also has a lot to do with our memories — eating certain foods makes us feel good, or happy, or takes our mind off of stress, etc.
That’s the “mood” part of food.
This is the reason why a “quick diet” rarely, if ever, works. Because it’s not about making some quick changes (eat more of this, less of that). It’s about changing habits and making lifestyle choices.
Which is why lasting change (losing the weight once and for all) takes time.
Why keep a food diary
The reason for keeping a food diary is twofold.
One, it helps you keep track of what you actually eat, and when you eat it.
For example, a lot of people eat while watching TV (not the best habit). So what’s the problem? Well, when you eat while sitting in front of the TV you rarely remember what and how much you actually ate.
This is a great example of habitual eating, rather than conscious eating.
Secondly, keeping a food diary is a way to “self monitor” your eating habits.
This allows you to get a good sense of what you actually eat over time, rather than trying to remember after the fact.
And the results just may surprise you.
However, please keep in mind that the point of the exercise is NOT to make you feel bad or guilty about your current food choices. Rather, it’s simply a first step to identify what you’re doing now so that you can make more conscious food and lifestyle choices for a healthier you.
How to keep a food and mood diary
Keeping a food diary can be easy, and it doesn’t take a lot of work or effort.
The best part?
Research has shown that people who monitor their food, mood and activity habits are more successful at losing weight, and keeping it off!
Okay, so here’s how to keep diary:
- Get a little notebook or booklet that you can carry with you all the time
- Write down everything you eat and drink during the day, right after you eat and drink
- Record the time of day for each entry
- Write down physical activities that lasted ten minutes (or more)
- For each entry, make a short note about the situation, your mood or feelings
- And be honest with yourself
So what are you looking for?
The key is to identify your eating habits and patterns, such as:
- how much you eat
- when you eat
- your portion sizes
- do you eat certain foods at certain times of the day?
- what types of food do you eat?
- are there any junk foods on the list?
- where do you spend most of your time eating?
- how do you feel before you eat certain foods?
- how do you feel after you eat certain foods?
- how active are you each week?
What you will ultimately find (hopefully) by keeping this diary is your complex relationship with food. This will help you identify what needs to be changed, as well as what you’re doing that works for you.
It will also help you become aware of certain “triggers” (i.e. when I feel this way I tend to eat X) so that you can become aware of them. After all, the only way to change a habit is to become aware of it in the first place. And keeping this diary is the first step in doing this.
Does that make sense to you?
If so, why not give it a try today?
After all, what do you have to lose — except the weight of course (and in a conscious and responsible manner)…
Are you searching for nutrition counseling?
The Fit MD program combines healthy nutrition, physical fitness goals, and addresses any accompanying emotional problems that may be holding you back.
If you live in Westchester, NY you can find out more information about The FitMD program and nutrition counseling by clicking the link, or if you prefer give us a call at 914-721-0071 today.
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And if you have any questions regarding nutrition in general or keeping a food diary in particular give us a call, or leave a comment.
After all, it’s your health and well-being…