I recently took a road trip with the teenager in my life. She is just beginning to discover the point where the intense growth spurts slow down, but the appetite and food habits of teen years remain (hollow-leg eating fests, voracious food cravings, multi-meals and snacks.)
While driving along, I asked my teen a question and looked in the rear-view mirror when I didn’t receive an answer. She was eating chocolate as if in a trance.
The situation reminded me of my own journey through the “freshman fifteen” pounds. They magically appeared on my body when I went off to college. I just couldn’t believe I could go from eating anything I wanted, straight to zero tolerance for any little food misdemeanor.
Thirty pounds later, I struggled my way to a solution. The thing that turned me around and gave me control over my eating habits was the old, reliable, food diary. It’s simple, portable, and gives instant accountability for meals and snacks.
A food diary causes the user to consider each item of food before it is consumed. Kind of like the way you might handle your check book. Most of us survey what we have to spend before writing a check. With a food diary, you plan how to budget calories throughout the day. Before it goes down-the-hatch, caloric values must be entered into the diary and tallied. A commitment to write everything down, no matter what, helps nix food binges and encourages better food choices. Viewing the results of your efforts can spur you on to stick with the program.
I found that for me, the food diary worked better when the diary itself was substantial. Not necessarily large, but not stray, scrap paper. Choose a size that fits into a purse or pocket. Use it just for food choices, not grocery or “to-do” lists.
Along with my food diary, I made a commitment to work out on a regular basis. The workouts were an intricate part of my success, but the food diary was key to gaining control over my food habits.
To this day, when I gain a few pounds, I’ll find a pretty little notebook and start keeping track of what I eat. I make a note of my workouts and add them to the mix. It still amazes me how the simple fact that I have to write it down keeps me in tune with my diet goals and delivers the results I want. I hope concept of the diet diary helps you in a similar way.