The benefits of keeping a food diary?

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Keeping a food diary for a while has many benefits.  We all have to eat to stay alive and therefore what we are actually eating  and drinking  is partly habitual, so for us all writing down everything that passes our lips may well be revealing.  I remember doing it myself.  If I ask a client to do something, it is only fair that I do it myself – and indeed, my diary did surprise me.  I actually eat less than I thought, but keeping the diary made me more aware of what I did eat.  We can also see the balance of what we are eating – is there too much reliance on fruit, for example, or a more regular habit of having a little treat than we have kidded ourselves?  Also we can see how much water we are actually drinking – and how much of other fluids.

However, usually keeping a food diary aids weight loss, but only if we record with complete honesty everything that we ate.  Open the mouth, put something in, chew it if it is food, then swallow – then write it down.  The above video clip absolutely fascinated me, having interviewed many people with quite a bit of body fat to lose.  Commonly they claim to eating modestly, as Debbie in the above video testifies to.  She recorded what she ate on video, which amounted to 1,100 calories a day, whereas reality was 3,000 calories a day.  And in her written food diary, she forgot to write down 43% of what she actually ate. I think this explains why no diet has ever worked for her.  Now, there are better ways of addressing weight loss than controlling calorie intake, but however we go about it, we do have to know what we are actually eating right now or we are scuppered before we begin.

Therefore a prime question to address is how can we keep the diary honestly?  Only the individual can answer this.  But one answer may lie in tapping into our motivation – do we really want to lose weight or feel healthier, and if so, learning our current eating habits can only help.  After all, if we have an issue with weight, what we eat currently causes the problem.  The only person that need read that diary is ourselves.  God will not read it and make us stand in the naughty corner!  Once we see the truth, at least we know what is causing the problem.

There are many reasons why losing weight is difficult, but maybe the simplest is the current dietary dictact that fat is fattening.  Too much fat most certainly is, but the real demon is sugar because of the blood sugar impact.  As manufacturers fall over themselves to reduce the fat and salt content of food, they have to replace it with something else or the food will be boring, and they are replacing them with sugar.  Just look on all the labels on the prepared food, from bread to beefburgers.  And look at Debbie’s ‘weight loss’ breakfast – fruit and yoghurt.  Scary stuff.

In conclusion, we will all benefit from keeping a food diary for a week at least.  I find that people are misled, not daft.  Finding out what we are shoving down our cakeholes gives us the power to make better cakehole choices.

 

 

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