Food Logs 101
You don't need a personal dietitian to start a food log, all you need is the time and commitment to track everything you put in your mouth. Click here for the food log I provide my clients. Simply print it out and start today! Studies show that tracking your food intake for a week or more yields the best results but even recording your food for one day can make a difference. Be specific and track everything - I tell my clients to carry a pen and paper at all times to record consumption of food. Do not rely on memory because at the end of the day, chances are high that you'll forget something minor. You'll forget about that sample at a grocery store or your conversation with your co-worker when you grabbed a handful of goodies from her desk - these calories count!
Remember to accurately assess portion sizes. That means you'll have to measure out all your food choices at least for a few days. You may quickly realize that your portion sizes are much larger than you need (or than you thought) and this may force you to assess your goals to consume only appropriate portions of food. For example, a serving of meat is equivalent to a deck of cards, a bagel is equivalent to a hockey puck, and a serving of peanut butter is about the size of a ping pong ball.
Make sure to record time of day and emotions surrounding your food choices. This will help you better assess how far apart your snacks and meals are. The further out your meals are from one another, the greater the fluctuations in your blood sugar will be and the more likely you will overeat at your next meal. Aim for 5 smaller meals a day rather than the usual 3 squares. Second, assess any connection between your emotions and your food choices. Knowing your triggers will help you avoid the stress eating pitfalls.
Finally, record where you consumed food and assess how often you are eating in appropriate settings. Food should be consumed in an enjoyable environment free of distractions and disturbances. Several study's show that eating in front of the TV or in the car actually makes us eat much more.