The benefits of using a food diary to change body composition

Posted on 27th Nov 2018

Keep a food diary to change your body

Whether it is to lose weight, add muscle, or cut out bad eating habits, keeping to a healthy eating plan isn’t easy. For a simple way to keep on track, complete a diary of everything you consume and see what a difference it makes. 

Write down every bite, sip or nibble to help achieve your goals 

Taking a moment to think about what you have eaten makes it more real in your mind. You are pausing, recording and becoming more aware of what you eat and this has a powerful effect. If you rush about popping things into your mouth while you are driving, vacuuming or checking your emails, you can forget what you've consumed. It doesn’t feel like much, but all these little mouthfuls add up. This can lead to you abandoning your goals as you feel you have tried your best but not had the desired result. Keeping a diary makes you more accountable. 

Identify your own weaknesses and strengths 

Looking at your diary will help you see patterns and trends in your eating habits. Use this information to plan wisely. If you're great at choosing healthy options for breakfast, then you don’t need to worry. If, however, every day at four o’clock you need a snack, then plan for one in advance. Have something ready, and allow for it in your daily allowances. You can also plan for emotional times, or stressful situations when you understand yourself better. Don’t try to fight against it – you will probably lose! 

Counting calories is easier with a food diary

With the day’s food written down, you can accurately add up the calories you have consumed and you can learn from it. A meal that was lovely containing fewer calories than you’d imagined is one to use again. Snacks with many more calories that you thought can be avoided. This works especially well with drinks, convenience foods and grab-and-go options. You will learn quickly which ones to pick up. 

Check your daily nutrition 

Make sure that you are eating all the nutrition your body needs using your food diary. You could be missing out on essential food groups which will make you feel unwell, and if you don’t feel your best, you are likely to reach for more unhealthy food. Also record the water you drink, as dehydration is often overlooked. 

How to use a food diary well 

Record your daily consumption in a way that is easy and convenient to use. Make sure you complete it and add up calories as you go so you avoid over eating. Check that you add everything, don’t miss out sauces, dressings and toppings. Calculate the portions properly, weighing and measuring for accuracy. Include the time of day, your mood and emotion, the occasion and the location. These little details will help you spot trends in your eating habits.