6 Reasons to Keep a Food Log:
1) Account for all those 'little extras'
Many of us eat healthily at mealtimes, but snack poorly in between. If you're aiming to lose weight or just clean up your nutrition, little extras (ex: a can of coke, a cookie and a packet of crisps) during the day prevent you from seeing results you want. Writing down everything you eat demonstrates the cost of those 'occasional' nibbles...
2) Know when you can afford to treat yourself
Conversely, keeping track of your food intake over the course of a day or a week gives you the freedom to enjoy a treat once in a while - guilt-free.
3) Be aware of when you're eating
Keeping a food diary highlights patterns, showing if you overeat at particular times. Do you binge late at night, because you've been eating too little all day? Or sneak in M&Ms from the candy bowl? If you don't keep a food diary because you have no hope of remembering everything you eat ... you may need to change your habits.
4) Fight 'portion creep'
The best way to fight 'portion creep' is to weigh and measure your food for at least 2 weeks. After that you will have a better idea of what your portion size really is! That 'handful' of trail mix might be more than you think. Weighing and measuring is crucial if you have hit a plateau or if you're just starting to food log.
5) See your habits changing
It can be motivational to look back on a food diary from a few months or even years ago and see how your nutritional choices have changed. Have you curbed your chocolate habit, or maybe you now eat proper meals instead of junk-food snacks? And if you're having a bad day, flicking back to a "perfect" week in your diary is encouraging: if you did it once, you can do it again!
6) Boost your self-control - hold yourself accountable!
Knowing you have to write down everything you eat (and show it to your coach!!) makes you think twice about that donut, or that second breakfast taco. Recording your food intake is a very easy way to improve your self-control.
Now you know WHY to keep a food log, let's talk about HOW. It's simple, below are the details you should include:
What you ate or drank: Be specific and include everything.
How much: Size, volume, weight, and number of items.
Time: Time of day you ate this food or drank this beverage.
Where: ex: Denny's scrambled eggs or eggs you cooked at home
Activity: List activities done that day
Mood and Sleep: Hours of sleep and how you feel - hungry, tired, depressed, etc.
I challenge you to start your food log TODAY and TELL ME what happens in two weeks. You'll be surprised!
Pictured above is the CrossFit Central Performance Log. If you don't have a food log, I strongly suggest you try one of these! It has a place to list your WOD, food log, and notes on how you feel. BONUS: it branded with the double C's and includes a section to log your PR's on workouts like Fran, Grace, Total, etc! You can grab one from me or at the gym for $20!