I often ask my clients to keep a food diary. Why? Because I don't expect you to remember everything you eat. Sometimes though, from looking at a basic food diary, it can be confusing why there may not have been a shift in weight, or a change in other measures.
More and more, people are relying on apps that count kilojoules and calories for their food diaries. And more and more, I am finding people are frustrated because they're 'under their calorie count for the day, but the weight hasn't changed'. How can this be?
When using these apps, unless everything is put in with great care in relation to portion size, it is very easy to underestimate how much we have. This generally means either weighing or measuring foods.
For example, let's say you are estimating that you are having 1/2 cup of cereal at breakfast, but in reality you are having 2/3 cup. Let's say you have Special K. 1/2 cup is 74 cal, 2/3 is 97 cal. Yes, the difference is just 23 calories, but let's say you have this for breakfast every day, that's 161 cal over a week, 644cal over a month, and 7,728 cal over a year! And this is only looking at breakfast! As I am sure you can imagine, if this is happening at each meal, it adds up very quickly!
So what can you do about it? My advice for most people is to focus less on the numbers, and more on your appetite and how your body is feeling, and responding to the food. Using mindfulness techniques is very useful here. If you are a numbers person, inputting information correctly is essential.
How do you keep your 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.