How To Keep a Food Record In 6 Easy Steps
1. Find your style.
Keep it simple – you can use a notebook, your daily planner or get techy and track on your smartphone or computer. What matters is that you have it with you and that it fits your style.
2. Know what to track:
When, where, what, and how. . . both how the food is prepared and how much. And don’t forget to record beverages including water, tea, coffee, juice, soda and alcohol. While you’re at it, notate your hunger level.
3. Keep your food record daily for a whole week — 7 days in a row — to start.
It may seem challenging and at times downright tedious, but work through it and practice. Don’t get derailed if you forget to write something down or misplace your notebook. Start up again right away. It takes time to get ‘in the flow’.
4. Look over your week and evaluate your eating habits — using a highlighter.
It can also be an important reinforcer and motivator of what you do well. First, take a look at (and highlight as possible) the healthy nutritious foods in your diet. Reinforcing the positive can help motivate you (and makes it more likely) that you’ll do those behaviors again. And when you eat well, you feel well, so highlighting the nutritious examples guide you toward feeling well every day. Then identify 2 or 3 (max) areas that you can adjust or improve for the next week moving ahead. Focus on real examples—just a couple—and come up with alternatives, strategies or solutions you will try.
A Registered Dietitian (RD) can be a great team supporter to help you with this step and to achieve your goals, too! You can find an RD in your area at eatright.org.
5. Do it again!
Whether you commit to another whole week or 2 weekdays and 1 weekend day each week, research has shown that keeping track of what we eat can help us manage our weight and help us with our other healthy habits, as well.
Observing (through recording), evaluating and fine-tuning. Three terrific steps in the dynamic process that is healthy living—and ways you can be active in optimizing your personal health.6. Track your daily exercise alongside your daily food intake
And make a simple note of your stress and sleep habits, too. Remember when you have a chance to walk, DO IT! Take the steps over the elevator, refrain from hopping on the autowalk at the airport, get up and change the channel rather then using the remote. Those few extra steps really add up in a week.
Wendy Bazilian (www.wendybazilian.com) is a doctor of public health, registered dietitian and freelance writer in San Diego. She is also the Nutrition Advisor at the renowned Golden Door and Co-owner of Bazilian’s Health Clinic with her husband and business partner, Dr. Jason Bazilian. Dr. Wendy is author of The SuperFoodsRx Diet (Rodale).
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