Our Lifestyle 180 dietitian, Kristin Kirkpatrick, asked Steve to start keeping a food diary when meeting with him after The Dr. Oz Show. This is absolutely great advice for anyone setting out to change their lifestyle.
Research shows over and over again that simply monitoring what you eat can be a powerful weight loss intervention and one of the most important daily behaviors you can do. People who monitor lose more weight and are more likely to keep it off.
Although you wouldn’t drive across country without a map, most people embark on a journey of weight loss without really knowing where they are going. Keeping track of what you are eating (including the amount) is vital. But it is just as important to keep track of when you are eating (for example: Are you eating most of your calories later in the day? Are you going too long between lunch and dinner so you’re starved by the time you get home?) and what you are doing (for example: Are you doing mindless eating in front of the TV? Eating in the car on the way home from work?) The goal of monitoring isn’t to feel bad about how many calories you had but to begin to learn what your triggers are and what high-risk situations are for you. Try keeping track for the next week on any of the online food journals or make your own with columns for Food Eaten, Amount, Time, and Activity.
Finally, monitoring helps you think twice before eating something. Knowing that you have to write down that handful of M&M’s you took from your co-workers desk makes it easier to walk by. Knowing that you’ll have to pull out that diary and write down that you ate the last 3 chicken nuggets off your child’s plate makes it easier to throw them away.