What are you eating?
Food journaling is the best way to find out. Do you pay attention to when, how much and what you eat? When you decide to lose weight or eat a better diet, you have to begin with an understanding of what your “normal” diets consists of, when you eat, and how much. Its important to start today! Waiting until you have the time or when you think you have a normal week will only delay this important step to managing your weight. With the exception of major life events, such as your wedding or the loss of somone close to you, every week is a normal week. Therefore, you need to write down all meals, drinks, and snacks – everything you put in your mouth counts!
Begin by selecting a notebook or calendar and keeping it in your car, at your desk at work, or in the kitchen – whichever place will give you a few minutes each day to write down your diet. You can follow a very easy tracking system at http://www.mypyramid.gov.
If just using a simple piece of paper, make four columns: breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks. Days go on the side bar. List each day’s intake across the sheet, one row per day.
Start with the first thing you ate or drank, and again, include everything else throughout the day, including the handful of chips or the sugar for your coffee. Be sure to include how much water you drink. Include the size of the portions and estimate by using common items you can relate to, such as size of my fist, or the size of a tennis ball. Once you know the average portion sizes you eat, you can begin to compare them to actual measurements ie. 1/2 cup = tennis ball.
Write down descriptions of the food such as “whole wheat” toast, and “diet” soda so you can see how much this item factors into an overall nutrition plan.Keep the journal for 7 days before reviewing, and use this information to cut back on bad (sat) fats, sugars, salt,preservatives; and increase good foods of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low fats, and eating smaller portions.
Lastly, note the amount of physical activity you are performing to best determine your overall nutritional needs.