Keeping a food diary

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  • Ever finished the day and wondered just where all your calories have gone? There’s nothing more depressing than following a regimented schedule of exercising and dieting, and not seeing the results you hoped for.

    Calories vs exercise: the research

    A recent study found that the key to losing weight is in fact down to diet. By comparing the hunter-gather way of life lead by the Hadza tribe in Tanzania with the average Western lifestyle, researchers found that although the Hadza tribe take more steps every day finding their food, they don’t burn more calories in the process. As a result, the study concluded that it’s the Western diet that causes obesity, rather than the amount of steps we take each day.

    While that doesn’t rule out the impact exercise has on our weight, it does highlight the need for us to look at exactly what we are eating, especially if we want to lose weight. The easiest way to do this is with a food diary.

    Keeping track of what we eat each and every day allows for nothing to slip through the net, including that indulgent hot chocolate that you had before going to bed or the packet of crisps you had on the way to picking the kids up. It’s a way of realising where the biggest proportion of calories goes and a great place to correct bad eating habits.

    Structuring your calorie intake…

    If you’re struggling to decide how to map out your daily calorie intake, a food diary allows you to work out what kind of eater you are, so you create a menu that works for you. Whether you’re a grazer or prefer set meals, you’ll be able to see what style of dieting suits you.

    Plus, you might even be pleasantly surprised by seeing what you are eating every day in black and white. Often we eat less than we think and the great thing about a food diary is that if you overindulged one day, you can always cut back a little the next day to stay on track.

    Taking the emotion out of eating…

    The key to dieting is not to feel restricted as this only emphasises cravings and puts emotion into eating. Writing down what you eat on a day-to-day basis makes dieting more of a practical task rather than an emotional one, which helps us make healthier choices without over thinking our eating or letting the cravings take hold!

    Where to start…

    If you want to keep track of the calories in the food you’re eating, sign up for a 7-day FREE trial with the goodtoknow Diet Club. It’s got a calorie-counting tool and an online food diary, which will help you see where you’re spending your calorie allowance.