by Melinda D. Maryniuk, MEd, RD, CDE
Everyone has 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 lots of times before, each time losing a few pounds and 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 this PDF or create your own. You may also want to use 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 meals or snacks that you hadn’t planned?
♦ 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 planned?
♦ Do you notice that your mood affects your eating?
Congratulations! Now you have an idea of where you’re having 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… the main thing is you now have an idea of exactly what you’re up against and what may have caused problems for you in the past.
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