Why You Should Keep a Food Diary…


I’ve got a tip for you if fat loss is your goal…

It’s not sexy, it’s not flashy and it’s not going to guarantee you a six pack stomach in six weeks.

It might, however, get you closer to your goal in a shorter amount of time – but it’ll still require some hard ass work on your part.

Keeping a food diary can shorten the length of time to drop some fat than it would otherwise and the research supports this.

study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine proved that those who kept a food record on a more regular basis lost more weight than those who kept a record with less regularity.

The study included over 1,600 overweight participants who were instructed to eat a healthy diet, be physically active and to keep a food log. After six months, the participants lost an average of almost 13 pounds.

To quote the study directly:

Greater weight loss was associated with more frequent attendance at the group sessions, number of food records kept per week, and minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week. These findings provide additional evidence50 that these standard behavioral strategies are key for successful weight loss.

The participants who kept a food log six days per week lost almost twice as much weight as those who kept records one day per week, or not at all.

I think the keyword to focus on in the quote above is ‘behavioral strategies’. Fat loss is more about behavioral change than it is sets and reps. It’s more about creating habits than it is hill sprints and sweatin’ it out to the 80’s.

In a future blog post we’ll cover the importance of accountability, which these folks were lucky enough to experience in their voluntary group sessions.

One of the very first things I ask of a new client, or anyone looking for help losing fat, is to show me a food log of a typical 7-10 days of eating.

I believe this is a powerful practice and often times is just the wakeup call most people need to fully SEE just how much, or how little, they’re consuming.

3 Tips for Keeping a Food Diary:

  1. BE HONEST! If you ate that donut that Sharon brought in to work this morning, mark it down. You’re only selling yourself short by not being honest about your calorie consumption. If you’re reporting to a coach, a trainer or a friend, then it won’t tell the whole story and could interfere with any adjustments that may or may not need to be made.
  2. Jot as you go; if you eat it, write it down. Don’t wait until you’re lying in bed to plug in the foods you’ve eaten that day, it leaves too much room for error in snacks you may have forgotten you ate.
  3. Pay close attention to serving sizes. Anyone that knows me and my practice knows that I’m a big fan of digital food scales. I highly suggest that you invest in one if you’re going the food diary route. Not only is there too large a variance between measuring cup sizes and serving sizes weighed to the gram, but this way you get a more clear visual for what one exact serving size truly is.

Cliff notes: keeping a food diary can be a helpful tool in your quest for weight loss. Keeping a food diary in conjunction with resistance training can be a very helpful tool in your quest for FAT loss!