Keeping a Food Record Can Help You Lose Weight

Food record

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.

Losing the Quarantine 15

Many people are looking get healthier by losing the “quarantine 15” (or more) that they gained during the COVID-19 pandemic. And if you have prediabetes, losing weight can improve your blood sugar and delay the onset of diabetes more than 10 years. The goal is to achieve and maintain a seven percent loss of your weight in six months. Knowing you have a borderline high sugar and keeping a food record gives you a chance to reflect on your diet and try to improve it.

Detecting a Pattern

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.

Are you eating when you feel stressed as happened frequently during the pandemic? 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.

Which Diet is Good for Weight Loss?

Almost any diet is a good diet as long as you stick to it. A variety of eating patterns are acceptable, including the Mediterranean, DASH, and low-carb diets.

To simplify, follow a few rules:

  • Drink more water
  • Eat more vegetables
  • Choose less processed food
  • Minimize desserts and sweat drinks

In addition, incorporate at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, into your routine each week.

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.

author name

Meijuan Yan, MD

Meijuan Yan, MD, MS, is an endocrinologist with LG Health Physicians Specialty Medicine. A graduate of Peking Union Medical College, Dr. Yan also received a master’s degree in nutritional sciences from the University of Missouri-Columbia. In addition to helping patients manage their diabetes, Dr. Yan treats other endocrine diseases including osteoporosis, thyroid disorders, and low testosterone.

Call: 717-544-3059

About LG Health Hub

The LG Health Hub features breaking medical news and straightforward advice to help individuals of all ages make healthy choices and reach their wellness goals. The blog puts articles by trusted Lancaster General Health clinical experts, good 'n healthy recipes, videos, patient stories, and health risk assessments at your fingertips.


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