Food diaries help you become aware of your eating habits, portion size, food selections, snacking, drinking and problem areas. They give you a basis from which to plan changes and set goals and allow you to look back and see what you’ve changed over time. This can be very motivating.
A food and activity diary will also encourage you to make conscious choices about what you eat and do – recording what you eat and drink gives you the chance to think twice before you act – you become more mindful of your choices and habits. This is one of the most useful things you can do to help you gain control of your weight.
Traditional food diaries require you to write down everything you eat and drink over the day. But recording everything can be difficult, although the more honest you are, the more it will help you. It’s also hard to remember what you’ve eaten hours after the event and those who record food in diaries at the end of a busy day tend to over-estimate their activity and underestimate their portion sizes. Accuracy gets even worse if this is left to the morning after.
People who are accurate and who keep going with their food and activity diaries are significantly more successful at losing weight than those who don’t. Simple right?
Not really. It requires a great deal of discipline and it is hard to maintain over the long-term.
So to make this easier, we have created an image-based or photo-based Food Diary using the free Activ8rlives4 Health+Wellnessy Smartphone App (iOS, Android, Amazon). With the Activ8rlives4 Health+Wellness App, you take photos of everything you eat and drink, pausing for a moment of “mindfulness” as you score your food or drink as a “Good” or “Bad” choice for YOU. These photos are then automatically uploaded into your Activ8rlives account. You can review a week’s food, drink, alcohol, activity and weight change on a single page. Pretty powerful stuff.
The Activ8rlives4 Health+Wellness, also tracks your food and drink intake by adding a full description of the meal or carbohydrate counting (carb counting) for use by diabetics.
As our healthy diet improves, what was a good choice for us at the start may change with time, especially if we are losing weight. So be flexible and be realistic. A diet soda may not be as good as drinking water for example, but it is a better choice than drinking regular soda. Eating ¼ of a pizza may be a “Good” choice compared with our usual pattern of eating a whole pizza. With time, replacing even a ¼ with salad may later represent a Good choice. The key is to be honest with yourself. Take it one day at a time. Step-by-step. Easy does it. And keep doing it.