A daily food log is very helpful when you are trying to lose weight or gain weight. You can track what you are eating on a daily basis, in fact on a meal to meal basis, so that you can eliminate the foods that are making you put on weight. If you are not using a food log to lose weight, you can use it to track your food intake minutely in terms of the essential food groups and ensure that you are eating a well-balanced diet. A food log is also instrumental in helping your doctor understand your food habits and track any allergies that you might be developing.
Once you have decided to start a food log, you should choose a format in which you want to maintain it.
While some people in the good old fashioned way use a journal or notebook; an increasing number of people maintain an online food log on a website. While you might track only your food intake in a handwritten food log, an online food log can provide additional features like:
- Automatic calorie counting for the quantities of the foods you enter
- Detailed fat, carbohydrate, sugar, fiber, etc counting
- Suggestions on healthier alternatives to the foods that you have entered
- Exercise logs
- Discussion boards and support groups
Depending upon the website you use and the features you want your food log to have, you could use a free food log service or you could subscribe to a premium paid service.
When you start using your daily food log, you can allocate specific pages to specific meals if you do indeed eat at regular times. After each meal, you must remember to write down every single thing you eat - quantities, brand names of the foods eaten. You should account for each garnish or topping in your meal. You should also note down each glass of water or beverage that you have drunk during the course of the day. Writing down your emotions at the time of eating is also recommended.
It is essential that you note these things in your food log with the utmost honesty because "cheating" will only set you back on your goals. After a while, a certain pattern will emerge from your food log and this will help your doctor prescribe the right course to handle an allergy. It will also help you understand your food weaknesses and identify the dangerous areas as far as food is concerned. Another important thing that will emerge is why you eat in the way that you do. Your daily food log will help you identify a pathological and psychological eating pattern and seek help if you should need it.