One of my favorite sayings is, “Weight gain happens when we are not paying attention.” The biggest factor in maintaining a healthy weight is being aware. You need to know what you are eating, how much, when, why, etc. It is the mindless way we feed ourselves on a daily basis that contributes to weight gain. Did you know that 500 extra calories a day equals one extra pound a week? Now you can understand why you need to think about how much sugar and cream you are adding to your coffee. Or, how much butter you are adding to your toast.
So how does one become aware? By writing it down! I am a huge fan of the Food Log. In fact, everyone I work with is required to keep one. Writing down what you eat tells me two things; how committed you are to losing weight, and where your challenging areas lie. The more specific you can be in your Log , the more success you will have in changing bad behaviors. A basic Food Log should contain the date, the time of each meal or snack, and all the foods that cross your lips. You can even track your water intake, how you felt after eating a certain food or meal, how hungry you were before you started eating, what your mood was, etc. There is no limit to what you can include. The more involved and personal you can make it, the clearer your eating habits will become.
A Food Log is also a great way to keep you on track. At the end of the day take a red pen and circle all the areas where you could have done better. Maybe you could have made a better choice at that restaurant or eaten less dip at the party… rate yourself on a scale of 1 – 10.
And don’t forget to save your Food Logs. If you feel yourself spiraling out of control, or the scale seems to be moving in the wrong direction, go back and look at a time when you were feeling and looking great. What types of foods were you eating? Were you eating consistently throughout the day? Was your sugar intake at a minimum? By going back to past Logs you can easily identify the problem and get back on track.
So, start today. Write it down, be accountable and pay attention! You’ll be surprised at how the weight will start coming off.