Whenever a patient asks for diet pills, I always request a food record first. Why? Keeping a food record is a proven way to promote weight loss and to keep the weight off. It’s quite common for someone to lose a few pounds in a couple of weeks just by keeping a food record.
Keeping a food record can help you understand your eating habits and target problem areas. You might think you only have occasional sweet treats, but a food diary may tell you that the “occasional nibbles” are actually daily events.
Detecting a Pattern
Are you eating when you feel stressed? Do you choose healthy food, but tend to have large portions? Do you eat a lot more heavy food when dining out? Do you graze in the evenings? Do you over eat at parties? The food journal can serve as a mirror by revealing eating patterns you might not have realized. Then you can target what you want to change.
Keeping You on Track
Keeping a food record helps you stick to a diet and improve your self-control because you have to think about what you’re eating and how much.
Imagine you have a bag of your favorite cookies. You reach for one, then another. If you keep a food record, you should write down each cookie. When you reach for the third cookie and record it, it’s easy for you to realize you’ve had more than you intended. If you share your food record with a doctor or a nutritionist, you might feel even more uncomfortable in having an extra cookie.
Gradual Change is Best
A food record can serve as a base for gradual changes toward healthy eating habits that can last a lifetime. Many patients ask me: Which diet is good for weight loss?
There are so many diet choices—Atkins, Zone, South Beach, vegan. Studies have shown that all diets are effective in helping people lose weight in the first year, but most eventually regain weight.
We’re creatures of habit. Dietary habits can be rooted in your upbringing. Drastic changes tend not to last long. But if you keep a food record and change only one old habit at a time, the change can become permanent and you can improve your lifestyle bit by bit. This process may yield results slower than drastic changes, but can be more successful over the long run.
Review Your Record
Review your food record periodically. Approach the food record with optimism and high spirits. Make an effort to see something positive every week. Give yourself a pat on the shoulder and keep a positive outlook. Your food record may supply a lot more information than you think.