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Keep a food journal to lose pounds

Jenny Craig, NutriSystem, Weight Watchers: They are helpful to some people, but you can make changes in your life without signing up and paying a monthly fee to a national company.

Every client of mine who requests help with nutritional habits is required to keep a food journal. Initially, this sounds like a big hassle, and they may question the necessity of all that work.

Even if you aren’t trying to lose weight, a food journal will detail the good and bad, what you might be overindulging in or lacking.



How will a journal help you eat better? Logging all the food and beverages you consume in a day can be a huge eye-opener. Most people have no clue about the amount of proteins, carbs and fats they are ingesting. Many of us eat without being truly conscious of it. Keeping a food diary is the only way to accurately know your food intake.

You begin to think twice about those five M&Ms when you know you’ll have to write them down.



What should you write in your journal? Everything that passes your lips – food, beverages (including water) and supplements. Those foods that appear harmless to your diet suddenly become very real when you write them down. The calories are real.

To get started, you’ll need a notebook. Some of my clients choose one small enough to carry around in their pocket or purse. Then go to one of the following free Web sites to log your daily entries. These sites are great if you want the complete picture of your dietary habits. Some will calculate the amount of nutrients you are getting, including calories, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, fiber, sugars, protein, calcium and more.

— At http://www.my-calorie-counter.com, there’s a list of the malevolent yet popular fast-food joints.

— The site http://www.fitday.com is one of my favorites because of the ease of use.

— At http://www.calorieking.com, there are photo guides to assist you.

These sites also will teach you the amount of nutrients you should take in according to your weight, height and age.

The first time I kept a food journal to help lose weight was after the birth of my second child at age 37. I knew I had to be diligent. I would sit down in the morning and write down what I was going to consume for that day and when. I lost 35 pounds.

When you know which foods you should be eating and start planning ahead, you will be successful in your weight loss. So grab a pen and paper to start your food journal journey, then go for a brisk walk to get your metabolism fired up.

Send me a copy of your first week’s diary, and I will give you some helpful ideas to improve your weight-loss victory. E-mail Rhonda@tahoetrainer.com.

– Rhonda Beckham is a nationally certified personal trainer with teaching certificates in Pilates and kickboxing.


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