Dietitian Dish: Food-choice journal helps track calorie intake

Elizabeth Sommerfeld

By: Elizabeth Sommerfeld,

As New Year's resolutions start to wear off, you may be looking for ways to re-energize your plan.

If weight loss or eating healthier was a goal of yours this year, journaling is a great tool to help you keep track of the foods you eat and how much.

One study, published in 2008, indicated that participants who wrote down their food intake had twice the weight loss as those who didn't write down what they ate.

The National Weight Control Registry also indicates that people who had successful long-term weight loss, an average of 66 pounds for 5 years, self-monitored their weight and food intake.

It appears that when you have to write it down and look at what you've actually eaten, you take the time to consider whether or not the food is really on your meal plan, or if you are just splurging. It's that little dietitian in his white lab coat, sitting on your shoulder saying "Should you really be eating that? Will it help you get to your goal?"

Also, don't forget to write down the BLT's you may not think about as well. I'm not talking about bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches, but the bites, licks and tastes you may not be aware of when cooking or trying something new.

Some bites of foods may equal 100 calories or more. Others may not be anything, but increasing the awareness of those BLT's will help you control the calories you take in on a daily basis.

Weight Watchers encourages participants to journal their food choices and even provide a booklet that you can use. Simply getting a small memo book you can keep in your purse, desk or car, can be an easy solution on how to keep your log.

Just remember to keep track of the type of food and portion size. If you fib on your food record, no one will know, but you won't be accurate, which may provide inaccurate calorie counts which can be detrimental to your weight loss.

There are multiple websites you can use to help track your calories eaten at meals and used if you exercise. Also, there are apps, which can be downloaded for readers with smart phones, but that's a whole other article.

I hope these websites will be of help to you in your weight loss/maintenance or healthier eating journey: www.fitday.com; www.sparkpeople.com; www.thedailyplate.com; www.mypyramid.gov.

Elizabeth Sommerfeld is a registered and licensed dietitian and has a master of science degree. Send questions or comments to dietitians@vicad.com.