Keeping track of everything you eat may seem like a bit of a chore, but writing a food diary can be valuable in helping you to lose weight and identify potential intolerances or bad habits. Here are just five reasons why you should consider keeping a food diary.
1) Lose weight
One of the most common reasons people may start tracking their food is for weight loss. Keeping a food diary can help you to keep track of your daily intake and identify possible foods that may be hindering your weight loss efforts. Apps like MyFitnessPal can help you to keep track of your daily food and exercise totals, but try not to get too caught up on calories. Ultimately it’s the quality of the calories you’re eating, as opposed to the number that matters.
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2) Identify potential food intolerances
Do you sometimes feel bloated, have poor digestion or other unpleasant symptoms after eating? Monitoring what you eat could help you to identify potential food triggers that you may be intolerant or sensitive to. Be aware that food intolerances are usually slower to show symptoms and digestive symptoms could be caused by something you ate a day or two earlier so they can be harder to identify.
3) Discover nutritional imbalances
You may think that you follow a really healthy and balanced diet, but keeping a food diary may flag up some areas to change in even the healthiest of eaters. Perhaps you’re not getting enough protein or are eating too many refined carbohydrates. Keeping track for a week should help you to see any gaps you might be missing in your daily diet.
4) Notice any bad habits
That chocolate bar or packet of crisps is ok for an occasional pick-me-up; but it’s all too easy for that special treat to become a daily indulgence. Through keeping a food diary you may just notice that you reward yourself with food and drinks more than you think, or realise that you’re consuming a lot of liquid calories and sugar with regular fizzy, coffee and juice drinks. Just make sure you write everything down honestly!
5) See how food affects your mood
Food can have a big impact on your mood, and indeed your mood can affect the food you choose to eat. Feeling bored, upset or tired are just three scenarios where many people use food as an emotional crutch. If you suspect you’re an emotional eater, keep note of how you’re feeling before and after you eat if possible, and you may identify trigger situations or times where you eat more than usual. If you do identify particular foods or feelings that cause you to overeat you can then work towards finding healthier alternatives or other non-food related things to do when you’re feeling that way.
Do you keep a food diary?