If you’re thinking about making changes in your diet, or you can’t figure out why the number on the scale is increasing, take some time to record your food intake. Many people are often surprised at how much they eat and how quickly the calories add up. Tracking your food intake can give you insight on your daily eating patterns.
It also can help show what you are doing well and what things need to be improved. It is easy to forget about snacks or quick bites throughout the day. When individuals record everything they consume, the impact of snacks and mindless eating can be seen, building accountability to eating habits.
Observing how you are feeling before and after a meal can also provide additional insight into eating habits. Were you hungry before starting the meal? How full were you when you finished? Are you eating because you’re stressed? Noting these items can help you understand your eating patterns.
Paying attention to what you eat also can lead to a better understanding of portions and improved portion control, which results in more accurate nutrient recording. Portion control is essential when maintaining or losing weight and it can be easy to underestimate portions when eye-balling food choices.
Tracking can be done simply with a pen and paper or by using a website or application. Online food logging has gotten even savvier, with many free apps and websites available that make tracking a breeze, including myfitnesspal.com, loseit.com, fatsecret.com, lifesum.com and sparkpeople.com. You can build your own personal profile, determine your recommended calorie and macronutrient ranges, and track not only your food intake but exercise, sleep and fluid intake as well.
Many apps also have reminders to help you stay in-check. At the end of each day, you can review a report to see how balanced your intake was for the day and any areas for improvement.
Food logging can be a useful tool for improving health or staying healthy. Give it a try!