Are you a mindful or mindless eater?
Losing weight and getting in shape is never easy but with a little bit of thought, you can take some of the stress out of the problem. One such way is to use a food diary. Looking at what passes your lips is the difference between being a mindful eater and a mindless one. Sadly, if you’re the latter, the chances are you’ll be forever getting unwelcome visits from the Fat Fairy*.
*The Fat Fairy plays a role not dissimilar to the Tooth Fairy. Except rather than cash, the unfortunate recipient wakes up with unwanted lumps of body fat. According to some, these unwelcome visits often occur as the result of merely looking at a chocolate bar. Sadly, many people are not strangers to the Fat Fairy!
An easy life
Now, we know food diaries are a pain in the bum and you want an easy life. But trust us, you’ll thank us for it at the end when the inches start to come off. Being mindful about your food is an essential part of a long-term, successful weight-loss plan and filling in a food diary will provide some vital data.
- Often just writing down what you eat can make it instantly obvious what’s going wrong.
- It will highlight eating patterns, cravings and habits, e.g., missing out meals or long gaps without food. It shows if you are binging on chocolate in the evening or always eating biscuits with tea or coffee in the afternoon.
- It provides a basic calorie value of your diet (and possibly the protein, carbs and fat content as well), which you can use as a benchmark.
“If you don’t know where you are now, you’ll never be able to plan a route to where you want to be” Paul & Ann
We’ve already talked at length about the inherent problems of calorie calculations (they can be out by up to 40%). However, a food diary can be invaluable if you use the calorie values purely as a comparative tool to determine what’s happening to your body. For example, is your weight currently stable or are you gaining or losing weight on your current calorie intake? Only when you’ve determined this relationship between what you’re eating and what’s happening, can you make the necessary changes to your food intake, e.g., cutting out sugar, becoming more active, etc.
Online or old-fashioned?
You can use an online app, but often writing it down is more educational. It provides a deeper and more personal connection with your diet. To be honest though, anything is better than nothing.
Some people do a food diary before they change their diet and lifestyle, others change first and use a food diary to keep track. It doesn’t really matter how or what you do, so long as you do something to monitor your diet.
Look at your shopping list
If you don’t want to fill in a food diary, at least make a note of what’s on your shopping list every week. Then, highlight the foods that you eat most regularly. Consider changing these foods first as they will usually account for the greatest number of calories consumed over the year.
Keep up the fight and Win the Inch War
Paul & Ann
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