Several years have passed since I wrote about the benefits of keeping a diet diary. I recently watched a news report about the success that dieters are experiencing from the simple process of writing down all foods consumed on a daily basis. After watching the segment and seeing the positive results reported by the participants, I decided that we should take a fresh look at the diet diary.
Little girls know the magic of the diary. It’s that special, private place where we can be completely honest without reproach from anyone. The diet diary can combine the wonder of the childhood journal with the control of a dietary advisor. The good part is, it only involves one person – you!
To start, it’s important to choose a diary with appeal to your creative side. A writing tablet isn’t the greatest choice because pages can easily be torn for scratch paper, it has no cover to assure privacy and it doesn’t have the magic of the lock and key. The best option is a bound book whose only purpose is to record your private eating plan. A day-timer can work if it is an item that you use regularly and has room to record the calories consumed and the thoughts, feelings, and ideas you have about your plan.
To assure success, you must commit to writing down every single bite you take for however long you plan to diet. Let’s say that you had a momentary lapse and ate something that tilted your calorie allotment for a particular day. The process of knowing you still have to write down the caloric damage can help you avoid the lapse in the future. It can also help you see that tomorrow will be a new day and you can move on without self-recrimination. The diary can also amaze you by demonstrating how, with good planning, you can get along with a lot less food than you were consuming and still feel like you aren’t on starvation rations.
The diet diary is a good place for positive reinforcement. A photo of yourself when you felt your best can encourage you to aim for that goal again. A schedule of workouts completed and a visual tally of successful calorie totals can add to the conviction to stick with it. Magazine clippings of role models or snippets of uplifting thoughts can also be woven throughout your diary to inspire you.
The successful diet diary is not meant to perform any negative functions. Save the negative thoughts, embarrassing photos with peek-a-boo muffin-top, and self-abusing mental excursions for some other time. In fact, my best advice is to let those negatives go away completely, to be replaced by the good thoughts, visual inspirations, and positive health benefits that can come from gaining control of your eating habits.