Food diaries are very valuable! Dieters who keep a diet journal are much more likely to lose weight. Why? Simply because they notice what they’re eating and are being held accountable by their journal. There are 3 methods to track what you eat: just writing down the names of the foods, counting calories, and tracking fat/fiber/protein content.
1) When dieters simply write down what they eat, they don’t have to do much. There’s no math involved or figuring out how much fat is in the slice of pie at the restaurant. They simply record “pie” in their journal. The benefit of this method is that it’s easy so the dieter will likely keep it up.
2) Counting calories is one step more complicated than method #1 and means learning how many calories are in various foods and keeping a tally. The benefit of this technique is that the dieter becomes more knowledgeable about the number of calories they’re consuming in an apple, a Big Mac or a candy bar.
3) Tracking fat/fiber/protein of various foods is another way of monitoring food intake. Most packaged foods have the fat/fiber/protein of the product on the label; so that’s easy enough. For fresh foods, a pocket nutrition book will have estimates for the fat, the fiber, and the protein content so that should do the trick for calculations. Like counting calories, this method takes more time but will educate a dieter about what’s being consumed so they can make healthier choices.
Whether methods 1, 2 or 3 are used for tracking purposes, a diet journal is a helpful tool. Keeping one can mean the difference between losing weight or not. If you’re not sure of your ability to keep a pen and paper at hand, there are many useful apps and online food diaries to help. Good luck!