Saturday, 31 January 2015

101 Things in 1001 Days: #12 Keep a Food Diary

Number 12 on my 101 Things list was to keep a food diary for a month. I managed to keep it up for the whole of January, so I am counting this as done even though I skipped the four days we were away, which would just have been a case of trying to remember menu descriptions and guesstimating large numbers of calories. It has been a useful exercise from which I have come to the following conclusions:

- Keeping a food diary occasionally is a useful check on how well (or badly) I am eating, but it is definitely not something I would want to do all the time. Too much focus on calorie intake could make my diet worse rather than better, I think, as I might become inclined to avoid some healthy but higher calorie foods, and be more likely to slip in more junk if it didn't add too many calories. For me eating well should be about eating healthily, not about counting calories. I suppose I could keep a food diary without counting calories but...

- MyFitnessPal is genius! It makes keeping a food diary very quick and easy as so many foods, including branded packaged foods, are in its database. Crowdsourcing is a wonderful thing! As well as recording calories in and extra calories used in exercise it gives a nutritional breakdown of each food which makes it easy to keep track of the amount of protein, fat, sugar etc. consumed. Data syncs between PC or laptop, iPad and iPhone so diary entries can be made anywhere, anytime. 

- I need to eat more protein. I tend to get hungry and snack too much between meals. Even when I have healthy snacks to hand it is easy to rack up quite a lot of snack calories in a day. I noticed that when I ate eggs for breakfast a couple of days last week I was less hungry. I think if I can get into the habit of eating more protein-heavy, easy breakfasts and snacks with a decent amount of protein I will naturally snack less.

- Chocolate is my vice, unless I stick to dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa. I can easily stop after just a couple of squares of dark chocolate, but if I start eating sweeter, milk chocolate I find it much harder. The same applies to biscuits and cakes. One chocolate or biscuit (cookie) will lead to four. I can resist the first far more easily than I can resist the second and third. I need to get back into the habit of having two squares of dark chocolate every day and being intentional about eating other sweet treats - if I will truly enjoy a piece of cake or a couple of biscuits, then I will eat it, but I need to get out of the "see cake and eat it" habit (my office has a cake culture!), and to stop taking that first biscuit or chocolate just because it is there. 

- I don't drink enough water. Finding regular points in the day to drink a glass shouldn't be difficult, but I need to get into the habit of drinking more. 

So ... time to stop keeping my food diary, and to start eating more protein, more "good" chocolate and less bad sweet stuff, and to drink more water.  

1 comment:

  1. I use MFP as well. I find it useful - especially for connecting with the fitbit for the extra calories for exercise. I've been keeping an eye - not panicking about the calories but it is useful to be able to look back and think - hmm didn't eat much fat for several days and now crave it. So see connections.