Seven Ways To Keep Track Of The Food You Eat
“I am keeping track of the food I eat!”
“Good for you! I am proud of you for doing that!”
Keeping track of the food that you eat can be extremely important.
How you keep track of what you eat, depends partly upon why you feel that you need to do that. If you are really serious about weight loss and effective weight management, there are a number of relatively easy ways that you can do this. It does involve some time, effort, diligence and persistence on your part.
Here are seven easy ways to keep track of the food you eat:
1. Pen, paper and loose leaf binder:
With a pen and paper, write down everything that you eat at one meal. Note that if you use this method to keep track of the food that you eat, you can always discard the pages from the loose leaf binder, at a later date, when you feel that you no longer need to keep the record.
“For breakfast this morning, I had scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, strawberry jam and coffee.”
Remember that when you are just starting, you will need to document everything that you eat. State your portions, eg. 2 slices of bacon, 1 slice of toast, etc. Be honest with yourself, even if you are embarrassed, because your scale will tell the tale. Write this in full sentences, or in point form, if you prefer.
You will begin to see exactly what you are eating and drinking and become increasingly aware of where you can make some changes, for the better. For instance, you may decide that eating a lot of bacon is not really a good idea, if you want to lose weight. Or you can reduce the amount of bacon that you eat, eg. 1 slice instead of 3 slices.
In a notebook, you will be able to record your food intake with more detail. Remember that a notebook is a more permanent record and it is difficult to discard the pages that you do not want to keep, as you would have to tear your notebook apart, in order to do so. Document your information correctly, the first time. If necessary, put the data on a piece of scrap paper first and then write it in your notebook later.
“For breakfast today, I had scrambled eggs fried in butter. I am not certain how many eggs were used to make the scrambled eggs, because my mom made my breakfast. I think I should have a boiled egg instead. I also had a slice of toast with a lot of butter on it. My mom really loves butter! If I make my own toast, I could use just jam and omit the butter. Maybe I should try having my coffee black too. Perhaps a glass of orange juice would be a better choice for me?”
Note that here there is a little bit more attention to detail and also a notation as to possible changes that could be made in the future.
3. Food journal:
In a food journal, you might be able to record things differently again.
August 13, 2008: “I went to the market for my groceries today, rather than going to the grocery store. I am really proud of myself, as I bought grapes and cantaloupe, instead of chocolate cookies. I am learning that since I live alone now, I can keep track of what I eat simply by shopping more carefully and not buying any unnecessary food items. I am determined to shop only once a week. I am planning my budget more wisely too, so that I do not overspend on food. I will only purchase food that will make me healthy. I am learning how to shop with a grocery list, in order to save money. In my budget, I allow only a certain amount of money for eating out, so that I do not overindulge when I eat in a restaurant.”
In a diary, you might want to record the food you eat, in a way that you are just simply talking to your Diary, as if your diary was your very best friend. Who knows, it might prove to be just that!
“Dear Diary, I know that I over indulged on my breakfast today, as I had several pastries on top of my regular breakfast, but I was so hungry! I have not had any for such a long time! Now I know that I have to start all over again. It is going to be hard to resist pastries, but if I do this again, I will only have a half of one pastry, instead of several. I am determined to succeed and I know that you are always there for me. Thanks for being my very best friend! Talk to you again tomorrow!
P. S. I met someone that I really like yesterday. Now I am really determined to keep my weight under control.”
Having a really good friend who is supportive, is really important when beginning a weight loss and dietary management program. Remember that food may not be a friend to you at all. Many people tend to over indulge in food because they are lonely. One advantage to keeping a diary is the reality that your diary cannot talk back, scold you, or make you feel guilty.
5. Computer Word document:
Using a computer Word document requires some basic knowledge about how to use a computer and save the document. This is how to use Word document, to keep track of what you eat.
Click on the Word icon on your computer. It will open up a new document. Give it a title like “Keeping Track”. Now begin to write the record of the foods that you plan to eat, or have eaten for that day, or week. Click on “File” in the top left hand corner and there will be a drop down menu, that says “Save To”. It should save your file when you click on it. The next time that you want to access that file, click on Word again and it should be the first file on the Word program. If not, you may need to find it under My Documents. You can also add to this file, or delete it from your computer, at any time.
In the Word document, you may state exactly what your food will be, for one day at a time. You can do that using food exchanges.
Breakfast: 2 bread/cereal exchanges
1 meat/egg exchange
1 milk exchange
1 fruit exchange
1 free exchange
In this format, a bread exchange could be a slice of bread, or a small bowl of cereal, etc.
Actually, this system works really well in terms of weight loss and dietary management programs, because a person does not have to record every individual food item that is consumed. Just setting up a Word document properly, with the number of exchanges allowed for each day, or at each meal, makes it very simply to keep track of what you eat. The exchange can be eaten at any time, during that twenty four hour period. This is easy but you may need some directives, with respect to food exchanges.
6. A spread sheet:
A spread sheet works well for someone who is counting calories. It is like doing basic bookkeeping, but using a calorie counter, instead of keeping track of dollars and cents.
Consider taking a course in basic bookkeeping, or Excel in order to learn how to use a spread sheet properly.
A blog requires knowing about how to use a computer to post information on a website. Remember that if you are using a blog to keep track of the food that you eat, that it is going to be posted on the internet, so you need to be careful about any personal information that you put on your blog.
It may be wiser to de-personalize it as much as possible, but you could still note things like “Celery and cucumber help to get rid of excess fluid.”
Remember that by keeping a record of what you eat, you are doing more than just that. You are actually working seriously at weight loss and management. You may not need to keep a record of what you eat, once you learn how to do weight management properly, as you will find that you will automatically eat the right foods and the right amounts.
Note that if you are a diabetic, or are on a special diet of some kind, you may prefer to keep a different kind of record.
Good luck keeping track of what you eat. I know that you will succeed!