What Are The Benefits Of Keeping A Food Diary Every Day?
I’m Tracey! I am a Slimming World Consultant in Tallaght but most importantly I am a Slimming World member.
I have lost five stone following the plan and words cannot convey just how much it has changed my life in every single way. I was a comfort eater, a secret eater and miserably unhappy for all of my teenage life. Since becoming a parent something clicked for me. I want to be around for my son for as long as I can be. I don’t want him to grow up seeing food as the enemy and as a reason to hide his emotions. Slimming World has changed everything for me and I want to help others do the same.
At my Slimming World group, there is usually a common theme when things are going well for people and that is being organized. Losing weight is vastly easier when you take the time to plan the meals you are going to prepare. When that plan extends to snacks, treats and any potential social occasions that week you begin to really feel on top of things and that is half the battle.
Weight loss is so entwined in how you feel emotionally because the way you feel tends to impact the choices that you make. Feeling organised and having a plan can really help you to stay focused on the task at hand. It gives you a greater sense of pride and willpower when faced with situations that tempt you or trigger you. A great way to feel organised and to have a good plan is to keep a food diary.
There are so many benefits to keeping a food diary. On a basic level, it forces you to really get your head around the fundamentals of this plan. For example – if something is not a free food and it’s not a daily healthy extra choice, then it has to be a food that carries syns. Sometimes we need to actually write things down and work out where everything fits into the plan to actually acknowledge these things in a way that will help us going forward.
I’ve had members who did not realise that they were having two healthy extra As every day until they physically wrote down everything they ate that day. That realisation brought about the change that leads to some amazing weight losses. Every day is a school day, right?
As humans, we have an uncanny ability to tell ourselves that everything is going swimmingly when the reality may be quite different. I was personally the kind of member that constantly referred to things coming “from my syns” as though there was an endless supply of treats I could enjoy and still get a weight loss.
When I started keeping a food diary and tracking my syns I realised I was having way too many and I wasn’t actually following the plan as it was designed! It was an ah-ha moment for me which lead to great results. I wouldn’t have discovered this behaviour without the daily food diary that particular week.
Food diaries will also help you identify ways in which this plan will work best for you personally. The plan is universal but we will all do things a little bit differently in order to make the plan work for our lives. When it works for us it becomes a long term realistic plan rather than a temporary thing. We want to lose weight and keep it off remember.
For example – some members like to have their healthy extra B first thing in the morning while others like to keep it for the evening to enjoy some Hi-Fi bars with a cup of tea or for a burger bun or something like that. Looking back on a food diary you’ve made can help you to identify the weeks where you really enjoyed the food on a greater level. It can help you consider changes which might have a positive impact on the choices you make tomorrow or next week for example.
I’d always recommend holding on to your food diaries because when you have had a great week loss you will have something really tangible to look back on if and when a time comes that you are struggling and need to get back to basics or try something new. You might be surprised by recipes you’ve forgotten or little habits that have crept in since you’ve made that particular food diary.
And finally – keeping a food diary is a great way for your Slimming World consultant to be able to help you. If you are struggling you might consider showing them your food diary and they could spot something or make a suggestion that really makes a difference to you going forward. You might have thought a food was a free food for example and a Slimming World consultant will spot that straight away and be able to highlight it for you. Just remember that the food diary is for your consultant’s eyes only and their aim is to help you so you won’t ever be humiliated or made to feel anything but encouraged!
Tracey is a happy mammy to four-year-old Billy. She is a breastfeeder, gentle parent and has recently lost five stone so healthy family eating is her passion! You can find her at www.loveofliving.ie.