The Importance of Keeping a Food Log

The Importance of Keeping a Food Log

One of the most important measures you can take while attempting to lose weight while doing the AgeLess Weight management program is also one of the simplest: Keeping a detailed food log.

Keeping a food log

Keeping a food log – it’s not about someone looking over your shoulder

The goal when keeping a food log isn’t to have someone checking up on you when you come in for your follow up appointment. Instead it helps to keep you accountable to yourself and help you ensure you are mindful about what you eat. A study done a few years ago showed that women who kept a food log while attempting to lose weight lost an additional 10% more than those who did not. The reason is simply because those who wrote down what they ate were more mindful about what they ate and how much.

Keeping a food log is about the creation of good habits

Keeping a food log

In addition to being a valuable tool when losing weight, keeping a food log is important when you’ve reached your goal to help maintain that weight loss. Truth is, it’s probably more important because once follow up appointments and weigh ins are no longer on the forefront of our minds, it’s all too easy to become complacent. Sure, keeping a food log may feel like a burden at times, and will almost certainly seem redundant, especially while you’re pretty much eating the same things as part of a regimented diet. However studies show it takes an average of 66 days to develop a good habit to the point it becomes automatic. So why not start now when you’re focused on developing better habits ?

Keeping a food log doesn’t have to be a chore. Honestly, it’s now easier than ever to do so and there’s a couple different options available to help you get started.

Here at AgeLess, we include a 12 week food log with your program booklet when you get started. We also condensed it so it will fit in your purse or briefcase for the sake of convenience. This is a bare bones approach for those who want to just write down what they ate and not count calories ( although that is something that will be helpful down the road as I’ll discuss in just a bit ).

Keeping a food log

Smart Phone Apps make keeping a food log easier

Another way to keep a food log is one that many people find the best for their busy lifestyles, and that’s a smartphone app. There are several available, but the one I like and we most commonly recommend to people is MyFitnessPal. It is a free app and is very easy to use. Once downloaded you can set your parameters to tell the app what you weigh and what your goal is. The app then gives you a recommended calorie amount to eat. Keep in mind that the company that provides the app has to avoid liability so the calorie amounts it will give you to eat are very generous. Fortunately you can adjust these to suit what your daily caloric goals are and the worst that will happen is a warning that it’s not enough will show up. Don’t worry though, very low calorie diets are safe so long as you are under medical supervision.

myfitness pal for keeping a food log

The app also has a large database of foods including those from most, if not all, major brands and chain restaurants. This is especially helpful for those who find themselves having no choice but to dine out decide the healthiest options. Another advantage to using this app is that it will keep a personal database of the foods you commonly eat so once you’ve added something it gets added to that list. This allows you to log your foods even faster as it’s as simple as clicking on a box and adjusting portion sizes if necessary.

The only real disadvantage that I have found with this app is when it comes to logging exercise. While it’s good you can log your exercise, the app adds calories to your total number of calories allowed for that day. For example, if your goal is 1400 calories and you burn 200 calories walking, the app adds that 200 calories to your goal, which would then be 1420. I tell people to ignore that and just focus on the target calorie number, and it seems to work fine.

Don’t have a smartphone ? No problem, you can also go to www.myfitnesspal.com and get the same calorie counter there.

Keeping a food log – the old fashioned way!

Keeping a food log

For those who eschew computer technology but want to keep a detailed count of caloric intake, there is still the option of keeping a food log with paper and pen along with a book that lists common foods and the calories they contain. You can usually find these at the checkout line of any grocery store, but the one I think is best is the Calorie King Calorie, Fat and Carb Counter available at http://www.calorieking.com/products/books as well as most major book retailers.

This book also has a large listing of nutritional information for the most common foods ( and some uncommon ) as well as menu items from 200 major chain restaurants. This serves the same purpose as using a computer or phone app, it’s just a little more work.

Whichever method you prefer, it is important to bring your food log with you to your weigh in. Again, the idea isn’t to have someone checking up on you, but if you’re having trouble losing weight it is a helpful tool. Together we can review the information and come up with alternative foods where necessary to help you reach your goals.

The Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said, “The journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step.”, and you’ve already taken the most important step: taking control of your health. A food log is a simple tool to help you along your journey. So why wait ?

Share