Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Hidden and Wondrous Value of Keeping a Food Record

Keeping a Food Record

Want to lose weight? Write down what you eat.
Why does this tedious and slogging activity work?
A few simple reasons.
1. We all underestimate what we eat. It is human nature.
2. We are presented with so many food cues during each day that without control we overeat. It too is human nature.
3. We live up to our ideals. If we set a goal and track it we are many times more likely to meet the goal.
4. Food records provide accountability and allow us to assess personal issues.
5. Using food records helps us determine triggers and determine where we eat.
6. It is hard, but it also gets easier.
7. Remember, self monitoring encourages us to compare our actual behaviors to ideal behaviors and we are motivated to live up to our ideals. The act of recording cues us to manage our behavior.

Basic rules
1. Write down EVERYTHING! Keep your form with you all day long and write down everything you eat and drink. A piece of candy, a handful of pretzels, a bottle of soda or a small donut may not seem like much, but these calories can add up!
2. Do it now. Don’t depend on your memory at the end of the day. Record your eating as you go.
3. Be specific. Make sure you include ‘extras,’ such as gravy on your meat, cheese on your sandwich or vegetables, butter, and salad dressings.
4. Measure or estimate amounts. If you have a bowl of cereal, measure out or estimate the actual amount (rather than writing ‘bowl’ of cereal)

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