‘You mean I have to keep my food diary?’
One thing many of my clients do not enjoy doing is keeping a food diary. Yes, it can be tedious and time consuming. Yes, if it is paper based it can be a pain to lug around. But yes, your food diary is an essential tool.
Research shows that people who keep a food diary are more likely to lose weight and keep it off, and are also more likely to make mindful food choices. I can no longer count the amount of people who have noticed themselves that their diet needs to change, so has been a key motivator. Realising something for yourself can be a very powerful way of then acting to make change. Others have made changes because they didn’t want to have to ‘write down the unhealthy things’! Again, as long as these changes are sustainable, this is fantastic.
From my perspective, it gives me a better idea of what you have been eating. I do not remember everything I ate in the last week, so I do not expect my clients to remember what they have eaten. This is where having a comprehensive food diary comes in, as I am able to clearly see what you have been eating and drinking since your last visit, thus I am better able to really pin point what it is you need to improve.
If you suffer from food intolerances, a food diary becomes even more important, as without it, it is difficult to identify any patterns which may occur as a result of consuming foods which are not being tolerated.
We have a blank food diary available on our site for download, which you can print and fill in, or fill in on your computer. There are also countless Apps, such as Easy Diet Diary or My Fitness Pal which allow you to keep your diary in your phone. Alternatively (or as well), you can also simply take pictures of each meal, so that I can see the diary that way.
To be honest, I don’t really mind which way you do it…the reason I want you to do it is because it will help you to achieve your goals.
I’d love to hear of any other ways people keep their food diary!
Chloe McLeod is a dietitian at BJC Health.
This blog focuses on diet & nutrition generally and diet & nutrition in relation to the treatment of arthritis and arthritis-related diseases. Contact us if you'd like our help in managing diet-related health issues.