Day 26: Keep A Food Diary | 30-Day Weight Loss-athon

It’s time for Day 26 of the 30-Day Weight Loss-athon.

All tasks in the 30-Day Weight Loss-athon are adapted from my 52 Weight Loss Missions program.

Read the steps first, then take 10 minutes to complete them.

Move fast, act quickly and stop over-thinking. Ready?

What You Need:

Step 1

First, let’s work out why we should keep a food diary.

Here are several excellent reasons.

  • People often underestimate how much they eat – so this is a great way to get real.
  • Having to write down what you eat can help arrest mindless eating – and mindless eating can be a major factor in overeating.
  • It can feel very rewarding when you fill in healthful, weight-loss-friendly choices – so that’s some nice positive reinforcement
  • Tracking your food can give you helpful weight-loss insights into problem foods or problem times of day
  • Writing down everything you eat can suddenly reveal ‘invisible’ calories you never acknowledged before – such as tasting while cooking, finishing kids’ meals, the true extent of snacking (you ate 25 cashews, not just a few).
  • Research shows that tracking your food intake can enhance weight-loss success.

Importantly, keeping a food diary is not meant to make you feel bad; it’s meant to give you information.

Step 2

Next, let’s decide where to keep your food diary. Choose one, or experiment with several to find one that fits seamlessly into your life.

You could:

  • Use a small notebook or food diary you can keep in your purse. Keep a pen handy so you can jot down your entries wherever you are.
  • Download one of the many apps available on smart phones. Search food diary or food tracker in the app store. Note: you don’t need to use calorie-tracking functions unless you want to.
  • Use the Interactive Diet & Exercise Diary from your 52 Weight Loss Missions Action Pack. Use the interactive features to enter text from your computer or iPad, or print it out and write by hand.

Step 3

The key to using your food diary successfully – so it aids your weight loss – is to leave nothing out.

These tips will help:

  • Use it every day, for everything you eat. I’ll say it again so there can be no misunderstanding: Everything you eat.
  • Record your entry immediately after eating, so nothing is forgotten. Make this a habit.
  • Be descriptive, saying small, medium or large; number of items, spoons, cups; etc.
    For example:

    • Medium apple
    • 1.5 chocolate bars
    • 25 cashew nuts
    • Large bowl of cereal
    • Small skim cappuccino.
  • Include the method of cooking – baked, grilled, fried, etc.
  • Remember to include sauces, spreads, dressings, condiments, etc.
  • Include drinks (juices, tea, coffee, alcohol), and their sizes. For coffee and tea include added milk, sugar, syrups, etc.
  • Be sure to record everything – meals, snacks, tasting while cooking, finishing kids’ meals, etc. If you think you don’t eat much, this may be eye-opening – and therefore useful information in your weight-loss success.

If you already keep a food diary, what will you do differently?

If you don’t, will you start today?

Check in!

And you’re done!

Be sure to leave your comment below to check in and stay accountable. If you’re reading this by email or in a reader then please click here to leave your comment.

See you tomorrow!

Michele Connolly

Michele Connolly helps people move from procrastination to action. She believes that taking action on your priorities makes you a happier person. Michele is the founder of Get Organized Wizard and creator of tools for business, home, and personal organization. Her programs are used by tens of thousands of people worldwide.

59 thoughts on “Day 26: Keep A Food Diary | 30-Day Weight Loss-athon

  1. Jeannie Helliwell says:

    Am doing this on the Biggest Loser Club site. Have been doing this for a year and when I forget is when I start to gain weight again. You get used to portion sizes etc when you use it every day and it becomes easier not to over eat. Great idea. Love it

  2. Sandra Krazulo says:

    Started it two weeks ago. I use a excel. And in the morning, when I check in here and in the evening, before I surf in the internet or watch tv my journal pops up – ready to be filled and showing me the reality – I hate it to write “cake” and see the fact of 600 ckal… but I love to write “cucumbers” 🙂

  3. Brooke Thompson says:

    I have been using Calorie Counter on my iPad. It is super cool…it also has an area to track weight, and exercise so that you can actually see you “net” at the end of the day. In other words it tells you if you have consumed less calories than exerted. So far I have burned more than consumed…yeah!

  4. Terry Currie says:

    Hello to everyone: I’m so glad you’re still doing Michele’s Program. Keeping a food diary will give your insight into what you eat; the portion size and what you need to cut back on and then eliminate off you food list. The food diary I made up included the seven days of the week with categories: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Activity. The Activity could be your exercise and/or behavior. I also added goals: Diet, physical activity and behavior. This will help you become a healthier you through nutritional eating. Remember, your body has to last a lifetime. Please continue to post to stay accountable. Good Luck.

  5. Andrea Kelly Donaruma says:

    I have been tracking what I eat on Weight Watchers. This has been a great help to see what I am really eating each day. The new app for my phone lets me scan the barcode of what I am eating and enters it right into my daily log!

  6. Travis Sinclair says:

    1 quarter strength coffee, not much skim milk. 11/2 raison bread, later a small bowl of coco pops and now a small apple. Making pumpkin soup. I feel a little hungry yet I know that it is a great feeling. You know somethings comming off. Not the best choices, yet I haven’t had the favorite cadbury for quite awhile (amazing). Pumpkin soup is simmering. mmmmmmmmmm Heather Sinclair.

  7. Sally Elizabeth Zwiebler says:

    I kept a food diary some time ago and it really worked for me, being ‘accountable” for what I REALLY eat in a day.Reality check! So I shall start again.Makes one aware too, well for me; of how difficult it is to make sure I really eat enough fruit and veg- now the daily & weekly planning of my menu should ensure this…

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