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Why Logging Meals Is Important (Besides Calorie Counting)

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We all know that there are many benefits of logging food for weight loss, but what if you’re not counting calories? You don’t need to log meals then, right? Wrong!

Even if you’re not counting calories, there are several health benefits to logging your meals.

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photo by o5com on flickr

Benefits of Logging Food

Noticing Trends

Logging your meals consistently helps you to easily recognize trends in your eating habits. You may notice that you haven’t been eating as many fruits or vegetables as you’d like to be or that you’ve been snacking more.

If you make note of the time, setting, or how you are feeling when you eat, you may also begin to notice triggers, such as situations, settings, or even times of the month {ahem} that affect your eating habits. You may notice that you tend to snack more if you’re sitting at the computer or watching TV or that you eat when you’re bored or lonely.

Another common trend that you may notice is eating higher calorie foods or snacking more on the weekends when your regular daily routine is disrupted.

Accountability

Your food log may become a silent accountability partner. There’s just something about writing down what you’re eating that helps you take ownership of your choices. I’ve often found that knowing I’ll have to write down a certain food is enough to change my mind. The act of logging food inspires me to make better choices.

Reference

If you’ve been consistent with keeping food logs over time, they can provide a handy reference tool. You can look back at the weeks when you had good results on the scale – whether that be a loss or simply maintaining – and see what your eating was like.

This is also an example of why it’s good to log your activity level, too. Referring back to those good weeks can help you to see what was working or help you see what changes you can make to get back on track.

Plus, if you’re anything like me, you go through phases with your eating. I tend to get stuck on one thing and eat it frequently for awhile. Then, it may fall off my radar for a time. Looking back over my food log reminds me of old, healthy favorites that I might not have had in a while.

fitbook

One of my all-time favorite tools for logging food and activity level is the fitbook. This 12-week log provides space for logging both your meals and your activity level, as well we check-boxes for different food groups (i.e. fruits, vegetables, fats) and space for logging your goals and incentives.

Also, My Fitness Pal is a wonderful online resource for logging food and activity. It even offers an app for your mobile device.

Do you log your food? Have you noticed any benefits, other than calorie counting, that I haven’t included here?

 

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8 Comments

  1. I try and log my food. I got this book on your recommendation and I love it- now I just need to be more consistent with it. 🙁

    I truly believe that tracking food is one of the most important tools we have to weight loss and/or maintenance.

    1. You don’t know how much it excites me to see your comment! I’ve missed you!! Yes, I need to be more consistent with my fitbook, too…or My Fitness Pal. I can always tell a difference when I’m tracking my food.

      1. I have missed you too! Things are settling down a bit- so I can be a more active blogger! Wanna come visit? I am sure I can find us a 5k or a bike race!!!! 🙂

  2. Hi Kris,
    I’ve never seen a log for tracking meals. Weight Watchers online has you do that. I agreee that it really helps to see what, when , why you eat.

    Sue

  3. This is one thing I am really bad at! I usually only do it when I feel like I’ve hit a wall. Obviously the benefits you’ve listed make it worthwhile. I might have to start doing it full time now.

  4. I’ve recently started logging my meals with the LoseIt! app on my iPhone and it’s very helpful! My husband logs his, too – so we can track and encourage each other. It’s a real eye-opener to me see how many calories some foods really have.

    I like this new tab on your blog, btw!

  5. love to see your posts! i’ve been using myfitnesspal for over three years. i love the accountability and the ability to customize meal/time slots and track certain nutrients. for the month of june i have committed to logging EVERY bite, EVERY day. this is definitely more challenging than i anticipated. i hadn’t realized how many days i half-logged, etc. thanks for continuing to provide motivation!

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