When I first started with my weight loss plan, I was advised to keep a food log. After the first day, I realized why a food log was helpful. I was eating a lot of good foods. The problem was how much of those I was eating. Keeping a food log will help you keep track of your calorie intake, give you a visual of what and how much your eating, and tell you how balanced your meals really are.
Using myself as an example, I took my total calorie intake and minused 200 for 2 daily snacks. I then took the remaining calories and decided how I wanted to divide then up for meals. For me, I wanted lunch to be my biggest calorie meal of the day. I started playing around with the counter putting in meals that I normally eat to see how many calories each of them added up to be. I had a rough meal game plan.
I updated my log as I ate or drank. Using this method I had a better idea if I was consuming to many calories too quickly before lunch or dinner. I tried to match my actual intake with my goal intake. Since I could see if I was taking in too many calories to early in the day, I was better able to alter the the rest of my meals to stay within my calorie intake goal. Since breakfast only consumed 300 of my 1800 calories, I knew I was started my morning on track. Lunch was 700 cals and my 2 snacks were 100 cals ea. For that day so far, I had used up 1200 calories and had 600 left for dinner.
By the end of the night, I looked at my food log and realized I went over by by 70 calories. Because I kept the log I was able to go back and see where I went wrong.
Yup, I needed to go back and look at what and how much I ate. My lunch alone was 710 calories. Looking at it I realized I should of only ate 1 hand full and not 2 of chips. Putting a visual in your mind makes you see and admit to yourself just how much you actual eat and drink in a day. If something as simple as tasting the food as you cook, can make you go over your calorie intake for the day. It can also help you see what kind of eating you are. Do you eat 3 meals and 2 snacks a day? Or are you a snacker? If you're a snacker, you have to be extra mindful of how much you snack because those calories add up quickly.
I have read a lot of people saying "Well, I snack on healthy foods that are negative calories". While this might be true, even healthy foods have calories that add up quickly. In order for you to be eating a balanced diet, you need an array of nutrients and vitamins. At the end of the day, I always go back and check my log to see how balanced my day was.
One example is, even those I have Cheerios for breakfast and a sandwhich using whole grain bread for lunch I still had not reached my fiber intake for the day. For dinner I had a salad, which was good, but because of the cheese I put on it I went over my saturated fats for the day. This made me more mindful the next time I had salad and wanted to put extras on it. Just because we think we are eating healthy, does not mean in reality we are. Planning meals ahead of time can help you made healthy meals that do not cause you to go over on calories while provided the recommended nutrients and vitamins.
Keeping a food log can help stay on track during the day with your calorie intake consumption, visually see what your actually eating every day, and how healthy we are eating.
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