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A Food Diary: The Secret Key to Weight Loss


There's a huge industry surrounding diets and weight loss, and there's one simple fact that the people in that industry don't want you to know.  It's easy to lose weight.  Allyou have to do is consume fewer calories than you use each day.  If you keep that up over an extended period of time, you will lose weight.
Fancy diets that tell you to avoid carbs, or cut out all fat, or restrict your meals to certain times of the day don't work because carbs are evil, or eating at night causes you to store fat, or anything else magical and "secret".  Those diets work because they force you to think about what you eat.  If you're only eating at scheduled times, you aren't snacking - so you consume fewer calories.   
If you avoid carbs or fats, then you probably eat more protein instead.  High protein foods tend to be less calorie dense than high carbohydrate foods - and this means that they fill you up, and you snack less.  You'd achieve the same result if you simply went on a calorie restricted diet, and kept a food diary.

Logging Your Intake Helps You To Eat Less

Food diaries work for several reasons.  If you force yourself to write down what you eat each day, you get a greater awareness of what you're eating, and how many calories each food contains.  Once you realise that many popular brands of chocolate biscuits contain more than 100 calories each, you start to think "Is it worth it"?  Keeping a food diary makes you think more carefully about what you put into your body, and helps you to stay on track in the long term.

There are a lot of online tools that can help you to monitor your calorie intake.  Web sites such as Fit Day and Fat Secret offer tools that allow you to log your meals via your computer.  There are also free apps for Android and iOS that make it easy to log meals on the go.  You can even use your phone's camera to scan barcodes, ensuring that everything you log is accurate. Many of these tools also track exercise, so they will adjust your calorie goals depending on how active or sedentary you have been on a particular day.

No Need to Starve Yourself

One reason that many people fail to lose weight and keep it off is that they make the mistake of crash dieting and then bingeing. They restrict their calorie intake too much during the early stages of their diet, and then end up craving calorie dense foods after just a couple of weeks of dieting.

If you figure out the number of calories you need to maintain your current weight, and then eat between 250 or 500 calories fewer than that number each day, then you will lose weight at a slow but steady rate of 1-2lbs per week.  You should have enough calories to play with to eat foods that you enjoy, and you're more likely to stick to the diet in the long term.

This Guest Post was written by: Wayne Barker

About the Author :
Wayne Barker writes for Slimming.com about tone and shape, healthy living and weight loss.