Tip 2: One of the most important Little Black Dress (LBD) accessories this holiday season could be a pen and paper. Research shows that individuals who keep a food diary six days a week lose twice as much weight as those who keep food records one day a week or less. Food diaries are an important tool in weight loss and maintenance because they force accountability, a vital ingredient behind any successful lifestyle change. Additionally, food records help build awareness of eating patterns which is especially important during the holiday eating frenzy. In fact, the latest issue of Good Housekeeping sites research from Texas A&M International University which reports Americans scarf down an extra 619 calories per day between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day! Those extra daily calories over five weeks could derail any efforts to looking fit and fabulous in your LBD by New Year’s Eve. So, start a food dairy today! Follow these tips to become aware of what you eat:
1. Use the diary that works for you: Your diary doesn’t have to be fancy in order to be successful. I use a spiral bound notebook so I can carry it with me and jot down what I eat throughout the day. Some people prefer to create a food diary in a Word document on the computer or use an online tool. What matters most is that you are recording what you eat.
2. Write as you go: Don’t count on your memory by the end of the day, but record your food and drink as you consume it throughout the day.
3. Liquid calories count: Don’t forget to write down any caloric beverages you drink throughout the day.
4. Be specific: Pay attention to portion sizes and be as specific as you can in recording what you ate.
5. Review your entries: At the end of each week, review what you ate. This helps you notice food trends, keep track of how you are doing and set goals for the next week.
Laura Buxenbaum, MPH, RD, LDN