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January 13, 2009



I had to keep a diet journal for a while and, while the purpose was not to lose weight, when you have to write everything down you do think a bit more about what you're actually eating, even when you don't calculate calories or anything.

If you're looking for an easier solution (at least easier from a record-keeping point of view) I highly recommend my husband's strategy: allow yourself one "treat" per day. Decide ahead of time what this is (2 cookies, 1 medium serving of ice cream, 1 piece of cake, etc), and just have one. I certainly don't manage to stick to this all the time, but it does help ("do I really want to eat this package of chips, or would it be better to have a slice of cake tonight when I get home"), and only occasionally backfires ("well, I'm not very hungry...but I guess I should go eat some ice cream so I'm not missing out").

Lisa O.

I did "My Food Diary" online for a while. It was awesome. I've always been fairly fit, eaten pretty well and never been really overweight ... but it still helped a LOT. I was about 6 months out from my 40th birthday and having to renew my DL ... on which my weight was stated as about 9 # lighter than I was. I wanted to get to my DL weight by my 40th. So, I signed up for MFD. It helped me really understand what 1600 cals looks like and get portions, etc. right. I ended up ramping up cardio and strength and not having a glass of wine (or 2) or beer (or 2) EVERY night in order to keep my calories low enough to drop those pounds. The food database is great. I got a heart rate monitor to more acurately track cals burned. The forums are good. I recommend it or a similar service (esp if it is free). But, I am pretty anal and like tracking stuff and am online all day anyway ... so it suited me ;-)


I haven't used a program like this, but my husband has/does. The things that he's found useful are the nutritional content counters -- making sure he's getting enough protein, vit a, etc., and giving him a realistic calorie count. He started using the diary in conjunction with riding his bike to work, and he found the diary really helpful to know how many calories he needed to be healthy while still losing weight.

And, if you're anything like me, a diary really helps curb that but-I-exercised-today-so-I-can-totally-eat-the-cake tendency.


I think it's a great idea and since I'm currently doing weight watchers it's a big part of the program. It is helpful but I'll point out my biggest problem. It's easy to write down breakfast and lunch because these meals have few ingredients and it's easy to know the nutritional values. I do run into trouble with dinner. I do a lot of (mostly healthy) cooking and in order to know how many calories you consume you have to add up the calories of each individual ingredient. So last night when we made a oven toasted breaded chicken I had to take into account the amount of flour, eggs, panko bread crumbs and parmigiano cheese used to make the chicken. Then, look up the chicken itself and the sauce and divide the total by the # of servinigs.
Since it's such a pain for things like that I often account for breakfast, lunch and snacks and then just aim to eat a moderate portion of (what I consider to be) a healthy dinner.
I guess it gets easier if you keep a record of things you've made and can refer back to it.
Overall, tracking what I eat made me really aware of how quickly calories add up, and now I'm more likely to have fruit or veggies as a snack in between meals and limit my splurges.

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