By Melinda Maryniuk, MEd, RD, CDCES

Most people have received some guidelines on what to eat, or given a weight loss plan from a doctor, dietitian, or weight loss clinic.  Some may be counting calories, points, or trying to eat fewer carbs… or others may have tried many different approaches before, each time losing a few pounds, but then gaining it back.

No matter what approach a person is using, taking time to study their patterns around food can really make a difference. This type of assessment can help identify the habits that may be sabotaging  good intentions and can help someone make a plan to address them.

What to do:

Fill out the My Weight – What To Know Food Journal for 4-7 days. The more days, the better. Use the PDF linked above, or create your own. You could also try using an app like YouAte or MyFitnessPal – anything that helps you track what you’re eating will work.

Study the journal – and ask yourself these questions to see if any patterns emerge.

♦ Do you eat often when you’re not hungry?

♦ Are there certain times of day when it’s especially hard to stay on track?

♦ Do you often eat in your car or mindlessly snack in front of the TV?

♦ Does being with certain friends or in certain places trigger you to eat (or drink) more than you’d like?

♦ Do you notice that your mood affects your eating?

Congratulations! Now you have an idea of where you may be experiencing issues and where you’re able to make the right choices. Choose one area where you want to focus on changing your behavior. Maybe it’s eating less in the car, or figuring out a way to eat less at a specific time of day that’s challenging for you. Small steps make a big difference… now, you have an idea of what you’re up against, and what may have caused problems for you in the past.

Diet and exercise alone aren’t enough to help many people reach a healthier weight. Medical treatments are needed to address the biological changes happening in our bodies that can drive weight regain. To find a physician near you who specializes in weight management, click here.

Click here to get five suggestions that will make developing healthy habits EASIER!

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Find a physician near you who specializes in weight management.