Published on February 16, 2019
You’ve heard over and over again how a food diary is the most powerful proven aid for dieters, that those who keep a food diary lose more weight. And that’s true. But, food diaries are also a very important tool for those who have lost weight and need to keep it off, as well as for those who are slim, who never had a weight problem and who want to stay that way!
While there are those who recommend you record what you eat throughout the day (as in eat, record; eat, record), I don’t. In my offices, based on how much weight a client needs to lose, or based on the weight a successful client is trying to maintain, they have a certain amount of food that they must eat every day, and it is not possible for them (or you) to have a plan only in their heads, record each item of food they eat as they go along, and then hope it all works out at the end of the day. No, sorry . . . that doesn’t work. When clients do that, one of two things always happen: They either eat too much or they eat too little, and both scenarios is the formula for weight gain. And, on those occasions when a client waited until the end of the day to record everything they ate during the day, they only recorded what they remembered they ate; I’m interested in knowing what they didn’t remember they ate!
With my clients, I use the word plan. I teach clients to plan in advance at least one day at a time, but 2 or 3 is better, especially during the work week. When you do that, you are telling yourself what your intentions are, based on your schedule, for an entire day at a time. You can see what you need to eat and at what time; you can prepare it in advance, pack it and bring it with you; and follow through for a successful eating day.
Here are 8 other benefits of planning your food diary in advance:
Menu planning saves a ton of time in the supermarket. #weightloss Click To Tweet
Menu planning prevents 'calorie amnesia.' #weightloss Click To Tweet
Menu planning helps you develop greater self-discipline. #weightloss Click To Tweet
Planned daily menus give you a look-back at your habits. #weightloss Click To Tweet
Planned daily menus serves as a check system. #weightloss Click To Tweet
I offer my clients two diaries from which to choose: A paper version or a custom electronic version, the latter which automatically totals the number of servings in each of the food groups as they plug them in. You do not have to be a client to print out the paper diary or to use the electronic diary, so feel free to do so.)
Folks, I can’t stress enough how important daily menu planning is. As busy as I am, I work as hard to stay slim as my clients do to get slim. I know what it’s like to be overweight, and I have no intentions of ever going back that way again. So, for me, it is worth the time a couple times a week to sit down and plan out my days: If I’m working in my NJ office, I know I have to plan one way. If I’m traveling to my Long Island office and have to account for the long drives, and possibly a dinner-sandwich in the car, I plan another way. I not only plan my meals and snacks, but I also plug in the times that I know I will have them, never allowing more than 3 hours to go by without eating something. This advance planning becomes my household’s grocery list, and I go about doing all the prep work (chopping veggies, and making pre-measured 1-cup servings of veggie snacks, for example). Then, I pack everything up the night before so that in the morning, after breakfast, I only have to grab-and-go.
You can lose weight and keep it off only if you have the right tools (and support), and menu planning is not only one of the right tools but it’s also the best predictor of weight loss. The more food diaries you keep, the more weight you will lose.
Lastly, let me say this: The most perfectly written diaries don’t mean a thing if they don’t reflect the facts of the scale. When a client hands me a diary that was well written and well planned (and sometimes written in ink because they were sure it would be so perfect the first time they wouldn’t need to make changes or updates!), and then the scale shows they’ve gained 3 lbs, well, clearly, what the diary shows they planned to eat isn’t exactly what they ate. Therefore, if there is ANY additional eating to what your plans call for, here’s what I tell my clients:
If you bite it, write it.If you nibble it, scribble it.If you snack it, track it.Grab your pencil before your utensil!