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WHY YOU SHOULD KEEP A 'FOOD AND EXERCISE DIARY'

Keeping track of what you eat can help prevent and stop over-eating.

by Kim Baram | February 27, 2016

How a Food and Exercise Diary Can Help You Reach Your Goals by Kim Baram - Personal Trainer at Amore Fitness.

 
 

Did you know that writing down what you eat and drink in a Food and Exercise Diary is a great way to help you become more aware of your eating habits and activity levels?

 

This will help you figure out what things you need to change so you can make better choices. Even if you think you have a great diet, you may be surprised how often hidden kilojoules can sneak into your day.

 

Identifying 'good' vs 'bad' habits

 

Everybody is different when it comes to diet and eating patterns i.e. you may be someone who has specific health issues, on certain medications or whether there are certain foods you just cannot eat. All these can have a big affect on your ability to have a balanced healthy diet and either maintain a healthy weight or even lose weight.

 

You can identify good healthy habits, such as:

 

  • eating three daily meals

  • choosing healthy snacks.

 

You can also identify bad habits, such as:

 

  • over-eating

  • emotional eating

  • unhealthy snacking all day

  • drinking mostly sugary drinks.

 

A food and exercise diary can be used to break down your weight loss goals into manageable daily targets so that you can track your actual eating patterns which will help you plan future meals and eating patterns.

 

If your goal is to lose weight, you will be able to better understand why you are putting on weight and what needs to be modified in your diet to help you lose weight (and/or increase certain nutrients in your diet).

 

Keeping track

 

There are many different ways to keep track of what you eat. You can choose to write it down on paper and keep this handy, make notes in your diary or calendar, or keep it on your computer/digital device. Some people even put them up on their social media channels as a way of holding themselves accountable and getting support from family and friends. Whatever way you think will work best for you, I encourage you to do it!

 

A food and exercise diary can record:

 

  • the times you eat and drink

  • the type of foods you eat

  • what you drink and how much

  • the portion sizes of your food

  • any exercise you undertook

  • what you were doing or how you were feeling at the times when you ate.

 

Assessing your diet

 

At the end of each day, you can assess your diet and set goals to change and modify your habits. You can then ask yourself the following questions and put a 'tick' or a 'cross' beside each item as this will help make things clearer about your eating patterns.

 

To control hunger:

 

  • Did I eat healthy meals?

  • Did I have filling foods with every meal or every snack (including water)?

  • Did I eat enough fruits, vegetables and fiber from whole grains?

  • Did I plan for healthy snacking to help curb cravings?

  • Did I stop unconscious or emotional eating?

 

To reduce calories:

 

  • Did I keep portions small?

  • Did I limit my intake of sugary, high-calorie food and beverages?

  • Did I include fruits and vegetables with every meal or snack?

  • Did I eat when I was not hungry? If yes, what was I feeling or doing that made me eat?

 

It can be hard to remember everything you’ve eaten at the end of the day which is why it's best to record things as you go, and I mean everything! That includes that glass of wine, piece of cheese or chocolate you ate while preparing dinner.

 

Quick tips

 

  • Don't change your habits while you're keeping your food diary.

  • Be honest and write everything down.

  • Keep your diary with you at all times.

  • Keep it simple.

  • What you record just needs to be accurate enough to be helpful.

 

At the end of the day, if you feel disappointed in what you read, remind yourself that it is only one day. Forgive yourself and start over.

 

Remember, it takes time to create new healthy habits, so make sure you follow my rule of "one habit at a time, one month at a time". If you remove just one bad habit by replacing it with one good habit and continue doing this for 4 weeks (or until you feel you have beaten that habit), you can then be ready to start tackling another one.

 

Start recording today!

 

- Kim

 

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PERSONAL TRAINING

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Amore Fitness is a professional mobile personal training fitness business based in Brisbane, Queensland. We offer a premium, personalised health and fitness service with advice, motivation and support to help you lead a fitter, healthier, more active lifestyle.