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TUESDAY TIP – The benefits of keeping a food journal

Many people begin the new year determined to improve their health.

A food diary can be a great place to start as it helps you understand your eating habits and patterns, helping you to identify the foods you eat on a regular basis. Research shows that for people interested in losing weight, keeping a journal can be a very effective tool to help change behaviour. In one weight loss study of nearly 1,700 participants, those who kept daily food records lost twice as much weight as those who kept no records.

A basic food diary should include the following:

  • What are you eating? The specific food and beverage consumed and how it is prepared (baked, grilled, fried, etc.). Include any sauces, condiments, dressings, or toppings.
  • How much are you eating? List the amount in household measures (cups, teaspoons, tablespoons) or in grams. If possible, it is best to weigh and measure your food. If you are away from home, do your best to estimate the portion.
  • When are you eating? Noting the time that you’re eating can be very helpful in identifying potentially problematic times, such as late-night snacking.

Be sure to include any alcoholic beverages you consume.

A smartphone app like the Empower Food Tracker makes this process super easy and convenient.

After completing a week’s worth of food tracking, you can sit down with your Personal Trainer and look at what you’ve recorded. Search for any trends, patterns, or habits. For example, you might consider:

  • How healthy is my diet?
  • Am I eating vegetables and fruit every day? If so, how many servings?
  • Am I eating whole grains each day?
  • Am I eating foods or beverages with added sugar? If so, how frequently?
  • Do my moods affect my eating habits? Do I reach for unhealthy snacks when I’m tired or stressed?
  • How often do I eat on the run?

 Your Empower Personal Trainer can now accurately identify areas for improvement, and set new realistic, sustainable healthy eating goals tailored specifically for you. Using your Empower food tracking app is a great place to start your journey for a healthier 2021.

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