Keeping a food journal is one of the weight loss tips most recommended by professionals, and numerous studies have shown it is a successful method for weight loss. If you are keeping a food journal, but don’t see the scale going down, make sure that you are not committing one of these food journal mistakes.
The most important thing to do when keeping a food journal is to make sure you have accurate information. Don’t estimate portion sizes until you are sure what those portion sizes are. When you start a food journal, use a measuring cup and a scale to be sure you understand how much a serving of meat or pasta truly is.
Another common mistake is forgetting to enter all the food you eat into your food journal. Your food journal may reflect stellar eating habits, but only because you forget to record forgotten calories. The easiest way to avoid this is to carry your food journal with you when appropriate. Keep your food journal in the kitchen, and note what you had for breakfast. If you take a lunch, record your food before you leave the house for work. If you routinely eat out, consider taking your food journal to work as a reminder.
If you count calories, it is important to be as accurate as possible with what you consume. This is often a problem with digital food journals, which offer calorie counts for average foods. These calorie counts do not necessarily match the specific food you are eating. To banish this food journal mistake, compare labels with what you are actually recording in your journal. You may be surprised at the difference between the actual calories and the estimated ones.
Inconsistent writing in food journal can also derail your weight loss habits. You may food journal fatefully for a few days, just to forget for the next week. Like any habit, remembering to food journal regularly can be difficult. The easiest way to help remember is to put your food journal in a location where you regularly see it. Also consider writing in your food journal before or after completing a daily task. Soon you will associate your food journal with that time of day.
Even if you are fatefully counting portion sizes and calories, your food journal may not work for you. The purpose of your food journal should be to make you aware of the food you eat and to identify eating weaknesses. If, after a few weeks, you cannot look at your food journal as a roadmap for possible improvements, consider including more information. A food journal may indicate when you overeat, but coupling that information with a few sentences about your mood may help you identify an emotional eating problem.
If you are using your food journal as a tool to lose weight, consider that you may be eating too much or too little. There are many tools online to help you decide how many calories you should be eating in a given day. Deviate too far from this range and you may experience weight gain. Many dieters make the mistake of believing that fewer calories will equal greater weight loss, but sometimes too few calories can cause a decline in a person’s metabolism. If you really aren’t sure how much you should be eating, make an appointment with a nutritionist and bring your food journal.
Like any other weight loss tool, a food journal will only work for you if you are using it properly. Take some time to evaluate the quality of your food journal and ask for help if you are having difficulties keeping one. If you still have trouble with your food journal, consider not using one. A food journal is a useful tool, but the only tools required for weight loss is a healthy diet and lots of exercise.