Women's Tips

How and why to keep a food diary


Proper nutrition is a rather ambiguous concept, which each interprets in its own way, therefore many of the “healthy nutrition” postulates have significant differences. For some, it is not to eat after six in the evening, for others it is a ban on eating in fast foods, for some it is refusing to take flour, sweet, salty, smoked, etc. You can continue for quite some time.

Food Diary Definition

This is the document where the fixation of all consumed food takes place. It is important to take into account absolutely everything, without missing a piece. It is necessary to record the names of products, dishes, their volume, as well as the amount of energy value.

The weight loss diary is a great tool for controlling eating behavior. He will make it clear what kind of food you eat, what quality and to what extent. It will show where the diet goes off, tell you which workouts are optimal (if available).

That is, the weight loss diary will clearly demonstrate the eating habits. Perhaps he will push you to change them.

Where to keep a weight loss diary

There are several options for keeping a diary.

1. Normal notebook, notebook.

- speed settings (or rather, the lack of it),

- lack of automatic counting of calories,

- complex analysis of recorded data.

2. Microsoft Excel application

- there is almost any personal computer

- it is possible to save on a flash card and open it on any device where this program is installed,

- it is easy to count the calories eaten and, accordingly, to analyze the results obtained.

- all information must be registered independently (manually),

- create independently the right formulas.

3. Smartphone / tablet / computer, cloud Google Drive.

- advantages of Microsoft Excel (see previous version),

- A file with information can be opened on any device with Internet access.

- disadvantages of Microsoft Excel (see previous version),

- long enough input information, if you work on a smartphone,

- Google spreadsheets are less functional than Excel.

4. FatSecret, running on iOS, Android and Windows Phone platforms (respectively, on tablets or smartphones).

- one of the best applications for keeping a weight loss diary,

- no fee for the application,

- there is no need to independently score the names of products, they are all in the program,

- you can make your products and dishes,

- You can specify the amount of both consumed and consumed energy.

- insufficiently informative analysis of information.

How to keep a weight loss diary

In the table, which is a food diary, it is necessary to make everything that relates to losing weight.

1. Meal time. It is important to indicate both the beginning and the end of the meal, since the duration of sitting at the table directly affects the amount of food consumed.

2. Main - directly products and their volume. If you do not know the exact weight of the food and it is not possible to weigh the dish or product that you want to eat, put it in glasses or spoons. This can be easily translated later in calories and grams using special tables. Unfortunately, one cannot avoid counting calories, as this is one of the most optimal ways to control the amount of energy consumed.

3. Another important point is why you are eating. You can eat for a child, have a bite in the company, have lunch, satisfy hunger, eat from boredom, etc. All reasons must be recorded in the diary. Further analysis of these causes will help eliminate unnecessary meals.

4. The taste of food. It is necessary to indicate (a five-point scale will be enough) how pleasant the meal was. For example, 5 - “true delight in taste”, 1 - “disgusting”. This scale will show real eating habits and provide an opportunity to adjust the food so that the food is not only healthy, but also tasty.

5. Fitness / sports. The weight loss diary should contain all the workouts: walking distance, playing with children, cleaning, climbing stairs, etc. This information will demonstrate how much movement there is in your life, what needs to be corrected.

6. The time when you wake up and fall asleep, the place of the meal. This information is important, as with the change of environment, the eating behavior also changes.

7. It is important to remember additional factors. It is necessary to mark in the diary any trips, incidents, events. Despite the fact that, at first glance, they have no connection with food, with the subsequent analysis of the diary you can find interesting patterns. Travel, stress, illness and other events can significantly affect the quality and volume of food consumed.

Why keep a diary

Fixing each piece pretty quickly gives you an idea of ​​the amount of calories received per day. Recall that in order to maintain weight during normal exercise, an adult per kilogram needs 25 kcal.

For weight loss, the amount of energy received per 1 kg is reduced to 20 kcal.

To gain weight per 1 kg it is necessary to consume about 35 kcal.

In other words, for a person weighing an average of 80 kg, it is necessary to consume 2000 kcal in order to keep the weight normal and reduce the volume if the person wants to lose weight.

If the weight is standing still and it is impossible to lose, it seems that the portions of food consumed are small, the weight loss diary will clearly demonstrate where there is an error in your diet and lifestyle. Maybe you just do not notice that you eat more than necessary, or you just need to add physical activity.

Why do I need a food diary?

Unlike his prehistoric ancestors, modern man very often eats when he is not hungry at all. We eat because “the time has come”, for company, with grief or joy, simply because of nothing to do, in search of new taste sensations, and so on. As for the composition of the products taken, then most people, if, of course, there are no strict health-related contraindications, do not pay any attention at all. Keeping a food diary allows you to reflect on these issues, analyze your bad habits and take measures to correct them.

The more we pay attention to what we put into our body, the more difficult it will be for us to stuff harmful and dangerous products into ourselves. Of course, documenting your eating habits is not a guaranteed way to lose weight, but when combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise, this can have a very positive effect on the weight loss program.

How to keep a food diary?

1. Before you begin to keep a similar diary, try to clearly and clearly understand for yourself why you are doing this. Set a goal that you want to achieve, and write down with a red marker on the first page of your diary. The goal should be real and important enough for you. Be honest with yourself.

2. Your diary can have any look and shape that is convenient for you. But make sure you record the date and time, what you eat, and how much.
Example: September 24, 2012 8:30 - 2 sandwiches with coconut oil and apricot jam. A cup of coffee, 1 teaspoon of sugar.

3. Why do you eat? There must be a reason for eating next to each entry. Then you can analyze your notes and see how often you ate without sufficient reason.
Example: September 24, 2012 8:30 - 2 sandwiches with coconut oil and apricot jam, a cup of coffee, 1 tsp of sugar - Breakfast.

4. The level of appetite. As we have said, your hunger may not at all correspond to the amount of food eaten. Where we can do with an apple, we eat a whole chicken. Try to eat try to assess your level of appetite.
Example: September 24, 2012 8:30 - 2 sandwiches with coconut oil and apricot jam, a cup of coffee, 1 tsp of sugar. Breakfast. Moderately hungry.

5. Summing up. If you develop the habit of daily keeping your food diary, then you will certainly have accumulated interesting statistical information. Be sure to once a week or once a month, set aside time for its processing and reflection. Analyze your eating habits. Count how many kilograms of sugar you ate and how many liters drank a soda, think about what they can be replaced.

How to keep a food diary?

Keeping a food diary at first glance seems like a waste of time, but you don’t need to rush to conclusions. Nutritionists, nutritionists and fitness trainers are not just in one voice advise regularly and in detail write down everything that you eat throughout the day. Today we will tell you how, why, and why you should start your food diary. Let's answer all "why" and "why."

Why: 4 reasons to have a food diary

So why is the simple writing down of every bun, cup of coffee and candy that matters? There are several reasons for this.

First, the food diary helps to better understand what and when you eat. You may think that you eat properly and in a balanced way, eat a lot of fruits and greens, and kefir does drink liters. But as soon as you begin to record every meal in detail, you will see a real picture.

The main thing is to really record every meal. And under the meal here are meant not breakfast, lunch and dinner, but absolutely all your snacks. Every sandwich, every cookie, and even that little candy that your colleague treated you at dinner - all this is of tremendous importance. And all this needs to be written in a diary.

Secondly, the food diary will show what you need to eat. And we are talking not only about specific groups of products, but also about meals. You may eat too little fish or dairy products. Or maybe you regularly skip breakfast and then eat too much at night. Your notes will help find answers to these and many other questions.

Third, the power diary can be used to create a more balanced menu. Over time, you can move from simple notes to conscious planning of your diet for a day, a week, or even a month.

For those who did not seem to have enough of the previous three reasons, there is another weighty argument: keeping a food diary speeds up the process of losing weight. Back in 2008, a study was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the results of which forced many to reconsider their attitude towards food diaries.

Along with the traditional diet, the experiment participants were offered to attend weekly support group meetings and to keep a nutrition diary. Six months later, scientists compared the achievements of all participants. The results were unexpected: people who took notes on a daily basis lost twice as much weight as those who took notes only once a week or refused to keep such a diary at all.

Still thinking that writing down every sandwich you eat is a waste of time? Then move on to the next part.

Food and Emotions

You have probably heard the phrase "seize emotions." What do you think, how often do you yourself “seize” stress, anxiety, boredom or loneliness? The power diary will help you figure it out.

Simply add a column called “Emotions” to your nutrition log and record how you felt before each meal. Did you eat this sandwich because you were hungry or because you needed a pause in your work? Did this candy help you to “kill the appetite” or to cope with the disorder after an unpleasant conversation? Over time, you will see that some of the foods in your menu are closely related to certain emotions and feelings. And having realized the problem, you can take a step towards its solution: replace sweets and cookies with soothing herbal tea or an apple, and another slice of pizza with a walk in the fresh air.

Food and Environment

Another important factor is your environment. Try recording who you are eating and observe how specific people and circumstances affect your sense of hunger. When are you better able to control your appetite: in the company of friends, a loved one, or when you eat all alone?

Diseases and intolerances

Another useful trick is to record your feelings after each meal. Whatever you feel, heaviness in the stomach, heartburn, nausea or bloating, be sure to make the appropriate note in your nutrition diary. So you can outline the range of products to which your body reacts badly. Who knows, maybe the tummy, with which you have unsuccessfully fought for so many years, is only a side effect of a gastrointestinal disease or intolerance to one particular product.

Types of food

There are many ways to keep track of what you eat with the power diary. You can record everything on paper, keep notes in a computer or phone, use specialized websites or an application with sufficiently broad functionality.

Everyone chooses the type of food diary according to their preferences. In this article we will look at an example of an electronic diary, which you can also print so that it is always at hand.

What is a diary for weight loss

The diet diary is a tool with the help of which the control of the food taken during the day, the liquid consumed is conducted, the analysis of the entered information is carried out and the results of weight loss are summed up. Entries can be made manually by entering them into a notebook, diary, notebook, and electronically using modern gadgets for this purpose - a smartphone, tablet, laptop or computer. The second method is more convenient, since today there are many special programs where not only there are ready-made power tables, but also automatic analysis of the entered information is still being conducted.

On the other hand, a busy, working person does not always have the opportunity to use the Internet or telephone, so in this situation it makes sense to use two methods at the same time: keep records during the day in a notebook, and in the evening transfer data to spreadsheets that will independently carry out detailed counting all indicators.

You can keep a ready-made food diary online on the Internet, start your own Google Drive account, download a free program (application) to a gadget and enter information there or build a table using a template in Microsoft Excel. If you are going to create a weight loss table yourself, make it so that it contains the following columns:

  1. Meal time. This information will allow you to monitor when the last time you ate, how much time passed after the last meal, to control that between meals did not pass more than 4 hours. So you can eat fractional.
  2. Grocery list. In this column, you can write the finished dish, but it is better to make each ingredient separately, so that later it was more convenient to calculate the calorie content.
  3. The mass of products in grams. This column of the diary should contain information about how much each ingredient weighs, which is part of the dish or separately eaten product. To determine this indicator, you need to have a kitchen scale with which you will weigh everything.
  4. The number of kilocalories. In this column, you need to fix the caloric content of each product separately. So it will be easier for you to analyze the data and make a total calculation of the energy value eaten per day. Additionally, you need to use a table of calorie foods or a special online calculator.
  5. Water. In this column it is necessary to keep records of the water consumed during the day and other types of liquids (tea, coffee, juices, compotes, etc.).
  6. Physical exercise. Information about how to make the body slim and fit, in addition to diet, helps the sport, is not a discovery. Keep an analysis of the exercises you need in the nutrition diary. So you can count the number of calories burned during exercise.
  7. Emotional condition. According to the recommendations of psychologists, it is very important to analyze your feelings and mood during the meal in a diary. Constant control of your emotions will help determine whether you are seizing up an extra piece of cake problems, experiences, or just have a feeling of hunger.
  8. Total. This column is needed to count the total volume of kilocalories of fluid consumed per day.

The names of the lines of the food diary table should be as follows: breakfast, lunch, lunch, snack, dinner, second dinner (a couple of hours before bedtime). That is, each meal must be filled separately to see when and what you have eaten too much, to know what you can and should refuse. Such detailed information will help get rid of bad and create healthy eating habits, it is more effective to fight against excess weight..

What is it needed for

Weight loss diaries should be kept to account for all the food eaten and drunk throughout the day, portion size, amount of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and kalorazh of foods and dishes. Зафиксировав всю эту информацию, вы сможете ее проанализировать и на основе полученных данных достигнуть одной из нижеперечисленных целей:

  1. Похудеть. Определив свой суточный калораж и снизив его всего на 300-400 ккал, вы сделаете большой шаг к похудению, стройности. Для этого крайне необходимо вести подсчет всех составляющих блюд, съеденных продуктов вручную или при помощи онлайн-калькуляторов калорийности.
  2. Зафиксировать результат. If the weight began to suit you completely, you should continue to keep a weight loss diary so that, while making changes in the diet, do not exceed the daily calorie intake.
  3. Get better. Athletes often set themselves such a task, and it can be solved by keeping track of proteins, fats, carbohydrates in the nutrition diary.

Food Diary Tools

It may seem to many now that keeping a personal diary of proper nutrition is a terribly interesting, boring and time-consuming exercise. In 2-3 weeks you will get used to it, and you will spend only a few minutes on the records, and the following tools will help you with this:

  • Cost (even the most usual inexpensive notebook will do)
  • no need to tune the tool,
  • maneuverability (you can always carry with you).
  • Keep a record of food eaten and have manually.

Microsoft Excel program.

  • Present in almost all computers
  • easy to use,
  • You can transfer the file with the power diary to electronic media, transfer it to another device, store it on the Internet or work with it on another computer,
  • may contain several pages at once (food specification, recipes, etc.),
  • Microsoft Excel performs all calculations on its own.
  • The names of the eaten need to enter manually
  • it is necessary to constantly monitor whether formulas work correctly.

Cloud service Google Drive.

  • It has all the advantages of Microsoft Excel,
  • You can keep a power diary via the Google Drive online cloud on any device with Internet access.
  • The disadvantages are the same as for Microsoft Excel,
  • when used on a smartphone, it will take a long time to enter all the data and values,
  • the service is less functional than the previous one.

MyFitnessPal - food diary with counting calories.

  • Visually shows the total amount eaten and drunk per day,
  • carries out a body weight forecast for the next few weeks,
  • shows the ratio of BJU (proteins, fats, carbohydrates),
  • has a directory of dishes,
  • reads barcodes.
  • Does not work without the Internet.

FatSecret for iOS, Android and Windows Phone.

  • Free
  • convenient, intuitive interface,
  • There is a Russian language setting,
  • you can enter your products and even recipes,
  • already contains many products that can be found on the shelves of stores in Russia,
  • It records not only received calories, but also spent, as well as sleep time, exercise.
  • Not very convenient data analysis.

How to keep a food diary

Before you start keeping any food diary, you need to purchase a kitchen scale, preferably electronic. Without them, it will be very difficult to count these tables. Then prepare a notebook with a pen to be able to enter data at any time and in any place. Be honest with yourself, the information in the nutrition diary that you keep must be fully and truthfully reflected.. Only in this way you will be able to see the full picture of food preferences and change the situation for the better.

So, in order to properly analyze the data, and then adjust the nutrition, you need to include the following indicators in the diary:

  • the time when you ate and all meals (not even scheduled), along with snacks, to know how often you eat,
  • the amount eaten, drunk to determine the size of servings,
  • a full list of products, dishes and their components,
  • caloric content of food, amount of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, their proportions,
  • the answer to the question: “Why did I eat it?” in order to understand the true cause of the deed (hunger, stress, boredom, food “for the company”, etc.).

Stages and order of filling

To start changing your eating habits, you need to make a correct picture of the situation. For this it is necessary for a short period of time (about 2 weeks) to simply reflect absolutely all the information about what was eaten and drunk in full. Keep a food diary, you need to take notes in stages in the following order:

  1. Always carry a diary or notebook with a pen to record data, and in the evening transfer them to spreadsheets. Do calorie, protein, fat, carbohydrate counting in a quiet, comfortable environment using Internet services.
  2. Be sure to put the date, time, place of eating, indicate with whom you ate. So you can find out what day you ate more and why, understand more about your eating habits.
  3. If it is difficult to determine the weight of a dish (product) in grams, indicate the portion (for example, a plate of beetroot borscht or 1 orange) or measure the amount eaten with spoons, and the amount consumed should be glasses.
  4. It is important not to miss a single snack - 1 candy, 2 cookies, 1 slice of bread, etc.
  5. Do not forget about the liquid. Record how much water, tea, juice, other drinks you drank. First, measure the volumes with cups, and when you get used to keep a food diary and can determine the portions - specify in milliliters.
  6. If you have a bite on the run and you are uncomfortable to make entries in the diary, take a picture of the label, and in the evening transfer the data to the table of food.
  7. When dining or dining in a cafe (restaurant), write down all the components of the dish, its mass (this data is often indicated next to the name), in order to fix it at home.
  8. If you prepare complex dishes on your own, weigh each ingredient individually on the kitchen scales, record its weight, so that it will be easier to calculate the total energy value by pressing the appropriate button in the online calculator.
  9. Record all physical activity, starting from the hour workouts in the gym and ending on foot climbing the 6th floor stairs.
  10. Bring in emotions during the meal (tasty or not, enjoyed the food or just ate, sat or stayed hungry, what they felt, what they thought when they ate, etc.).
  11. Weigh yourself twice a day, do not forget to enter the data in the food diary.

Analysis of records and results

After about two weeks, it will turn out to consider a detailed picture of food habits and to continue not just keeping a diary, but to draw conclusions and adjust the nutrition. Pay attention to the following points:

  1. Try to identify trends. Perhaps the dinner consists of the same high-calorie meal, that is, you gorge on after a hard day's work. Or overeat (eat high-calorie foods) when you experience negative emotions.
  2. Carefully review snack information. Most people do not notice how much they eat “on trifles” throughout the day. Think about whether you choose healthy food or put everything in your mouth that comes handy?
  3. Try to find a relationship between food and mood. Perhaps you eat excess (or harmful) food when you are nervous, upset. Find another way to lift your spirits, get out of depression. Think, and not in three cups of coffee per day is the reason for the aggression?
  4. Browse through the column of sensations, emotions, and well-being; remove foods that cause bloating, nausea, heaviness in the stomach, headaches, etc., from the diet.
  5. Enter information about physical activity, to understand how many calories you burned from those that received with food.

Who needs a food diary?

From the point of view of medicine, the food diary allows you to monitor food reactions and changes in the state of the body under the influence of changes in the diet. Most often it is necessary for allergies, which have yet to identify an allergen. Sometimes these observations are enough to establish the cause of the reaction and without expensive samples for all groups of allergens. Also, such an account is necessary for people with impaired insulin metabolism, potential diabetics. Well, the most numerous category for which such a method of accounting would be useful is people seeking to lose weight and suffering from uncritical eating disorders (and more often, people with weak willpower). Thanks to taking notes of everything eaten, a person sees the number and volume of his snacks, which he will forget in a couple of hours. In addition, thanks to these records, you can determine the balance of the diet, dietary habits and plan the optimal diet. Diary of proper nutrition for weight loss plays an important role in achieving the goal due to the ability to assess your diet and increase motivation.

Do I need a food diary for slender people?

The fact is that the correct, optimal weight will not support itself. Therefore, to preserve the shape, it is necessary to make an individual diet, and even better a ready-made menu. It can also be displayed in the diary. This will solve several problems at once:

  • No need to take care of what to cook today,
  • You can order products in an orderly manner according to a menu that will allow you to avoid additional visits to the store and the temptation to buy something tasty, but unplanned and unhealthy,
  • There will be much less temptations to cook something that is not very useful, because the menu prepared in advance involves the preparation of healthy and healthy food,
  • You can always analyze deviations from the food plan, determine at what intervals these mini-breakdowns occur and make sure that you have a useful and tasty snack on hand that fits the nutrition standards,
  • Increase motivation by observing the days in which we managed to maintain a balance in meals,
  • Adjust the diet, if necessary, and clearly see the body's reaction to it,
  • Develop a diet by the hour, which significantly improves the work of the gastrointestinal tract and helps to normalize the metabolism.

These and many other positive moments will be a weighty basis for nutrition diary for weight loss gradually became a food diary of a healthy and attractive person.