When you’re trying to lose weight, it can be easy to slip into old habits, like snacking when you’re bored. It may also be hard to resist temptations, and you find yourself having â€œjust a taste.â€ Unfortunately, those little tastes can add up faster than you think.
Even if you think you’re mostly on track, you may not realize even just a couple bites of this or that could be adding 100 calories or more to your day. One of the best ways to ensure you reach your goal when you’re looking to drop pounds is by keeping a food journal. To help you get started, here are some tips to making a food journal an easy habit.
Make a Plan
Planning your meals for the week might seem like another task, but it will actually make food journaling easier. Writing down your plan for the week makes your meals a no-brainer, so when you actually do get to that day, the journal will already be done and you can stay on track with your plan.
If you know you have breakfast at 7 a.m. every morning, you can set a reminder for yourself at 7:30 a.m. to log your breakfast before you head out the door, if you haven’t done so already. These alerts might seem annoying at first, but after a while you’ll predict your alarm going off, and jot down what you ate without the reminder. Once tracking your food has become a healthy habit, you can delete the reminders.
There are lots of sugar-loaded drinks out there, and they will add up. Tracking your beverage calories will help you get a complete picture of your total calorie intake. Donâ€™t forget about any alcoholic beverages, which if selecting a low calorie drink will usually be about 100 calories. However, a mixed cocktail like a margarita or fancy coffee drink like a mocha frappuccino, could really derail your diet goals at around 300-500 calories per drink.
Try to make sure to get at least eight, 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Try drinking a glass of water before each meal to help satisfy your thirst and you will fill up faster, keeping you on track with your diet plan. Lots of water helps with digestion as well.
Identify your Triggers
We all have obstacles that can cause us to go off track. For some people, itâ€™s a stressful day or busy schedule. For others, it may be emotional. By keeping an accurate and complete food journal you can begin to identify any patterns in your food choices and see what events or feelings present the biggest challenge for your weight loss success. As you learn your triggers, you will be increasingly prepared to overcome those situations in the future.
Give it a Try
Writing down everything you eat may seem tedious, but if you’re serious about your goals, keeping a food journal (or using a smartphone app like MyFitnessPal or Lose It) will hold you accountable and help you stick to your calorie goals.
Use your food journal as a way to achieve your goal. You will find yourself considering if you really want to write it down, before putting it in your mouth. That simple question can help determine if you are truly hungry and keep you from overindulging in too many â€œsmall tastesâ€ and instead, enable you to taste success.