You can ditch the pen and paper. Keeping track of what you eat has never been easier. First there were online diet diaries where you could easily log in from anywhere and record every morsel that passed your lips. Now these programs are available as apps on your phone, making diet tracking literally at the tip of your fingers whenever and wherever.
Wait, what was that? You don’t keep a diet diary? Well if weight loss is your goal, which it is for a large portion of our population, a diet diary may just be that kick you need to get things moving in the right direction. That’s what makes the ease of these phone apps so exciting. I know many of you, in fact, are already using them. Keep up the great work!
Many of you have probably already heard that recent research has shown that participants who kept food journals lost almost twice as much weight as their non-journaling companions. Such a simple tool can produce measurable and lasting results. Diet diaries make you more mindful of what you put in your mouth and also provide a great way to track caloric intake so that adjustments can be made as needed. Without any type of tracking it’s extremely easy to underestimate the amount of fat, carbohydrates and total calories you are eating. I see it all the time with my weight loss patients. Those that aren’t journaling tend to eat more than they think they are, even when they are supposedly eating “healthy.” Larger portions and mindless snacking add up. My most successful clients track what they eat, even if just for a season.
Now, many of you already know that I preach an intuitive eating approach to dieting. I don’t like diets and I don’t like strict food rules. In general I don’t even like being obsessed about writing down everything you eat. However I do believe that diet journaling for a certain period of time can be extremely effective in resetting eating patterns and helping people become more mindful about how and what they are eating. This is not a forever thing; I don’t personally keep a diet diary, but they are a useful tool and I highly recommend them as an initial part of a weight loss strategy.
The following are a couple of online trackers and/or phone apps that have come recommended by clients or colleagues. I suggest having a browse and seeing which one might work best for you. Try a few and get a feel for them. Each are slightly different in their format and set-up and you may find one that resonates with you better than another.
This list is definitely not exhaustive. There are so many and new ones pop up all the time! Give this handy tool a try and see if your weight loss efforts don’t improve dramatically. Good luck!