Step 2. Keep a Food Diary

I have tried and failed to keep the weight off more times than I care to remember during my life. The cruellest aspect of being a compulsive yo-yo dieter is dropping all of your excess weight; only to put it back on within the following 24 months.

That’s why this time I have enlisted the help of a number of tools to assist me in creating positive and lasting change.

One such tool has been to keep a food diary.

Studies have shown that keeping a food diary can more than double your chances of not only losing weight but also keeping the pounds from creeping back on.

Victor Stevens, PhD, the senior investigator at the Kaiser Permanente Centre for Health Research in Portland USA believes there are 5 keys to keeping a successful food diary.

  1. Write as you go. Don't wait until the end of the day to record what you ate and drank.
  2. Focus on portion size. Practice at home with measuring cups, measuring spoons, or food scales. And be aware that people tend to underestimate how much food they're served.
  3. Use whatever type of food diary works for you. It doesn't matter whether you use scrap paper, a personal digital assistant (PDA), or a notebook. What matters is that you use it, says Stevens.
  4. Don't skip your indulgent days. "We encourage people to keep records especially on days when they're tempted to eat," says Stevens. "What gets measured tends to get changed."
  5. Cook at home. You'll have more control over what you consume, and you know what that food contains, and how much of it you're eating. That makes for a more detailed entry in your food diary.

After reading through Victor Stevens 5 tips above, I decided to try one myself. However writing down what I ate each day on pieces of scrap paper quickly became a bore.

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I needed something quick, easy and fun to use. I also needed something interactive that could help me monitor how many carbs I was eating everyday. That's when I decided to use the MyFitnessPal app for iOS. 

Here I can add the foods I eat, as I eat them. Track my calories, fat and carbs consumed for that day; I can even take pictures of my meal creations and post them on the app or on my social networks. MyFitnessPal makes tracking my food kind of fun actually. In fact I think this is one habit I am going to maintain even after I reach my weight loss goals, just to help me actually keep the weight off this time.

If your looking for a fun, interactive, information based food diary give MyFitnessPal a go. And if your already using MyFitnessPal and you'd like a team member hit me up - simonejade7682 - I'd love to hear from you. 

If you have any other suggestions you'd like to share I'd love to hear from you! What are your best tips for keeping a food diary?