One simple and effective way to lose weight is keeping a Food Journal.  What you eat and how much of what you eat contributes to your current weight.  Before you change your lifestyles in order to drop inches, you must realize that your success is due, in large part to your diet.  The rest includes exercise and other factors.

One’s first food journal does not have to be detailed.  It is a mere reflection of your day’s menu.  After a week, you will be better able to reflect on the details of what was consumed.  After a month, you might be able to see some patterns.  Although your first journal does not have to be comprehensive, I am sure you will eventually add or subtract information that is more meaningful to you. These journals are private, so be honest with yourself!  If you ate a bowl of ice cream at midnight, log it.  Only you will know.  It will motivate you.  In the future, if you don’t want to see ice cream in your food journal, you won’t eat the ice cream.

To start a Food Journal, a small notebook and a pen is sufficient.  Write down the date at the top of the page.  On the next line, write “Breakfast”, and jot down what you ate.  On the next few lines, do the same with lunch, dinner, and snacks.  Don’t forget to record liquids.

As time goes on, you could add in categories such as calories, protein, carbs, and how many minutes you exercised that day.  You could even record your weekly weight to monitor your progress.
Another great thing about journals is that you can add any significant events or emotions that may have affected your eating pattern.  I know that personally, when I am stressed, I will have an extra snack at night.  Seeing this in my journal allows me to be creative and think of other ways to unwind.

These days, Food Journals are becoming easier and easier to make.  I personally use a free application called MyFitnessPal.  What I really like about the electronic method of Food Journaling is that I do not need a nutrition book and calculator to add up my day’s calories.  These amazing apps have an extensive system and it quickly summarizes the amount of calories, proteins, vitamins and much more for me.  What I find extremely useful on them is a large variety of ethnic foods.  Another perk about these applications are the weight logs.  After inputting your weight, the application actually graphs your weight!  You can easily see your body’s trend, whether your weight is goes up, down, or if you are stable.

If you’re serious about weight loss, give Food Journal a try.  It is a wonderful proactive step towards better health!
Christine Soriano, PA-C