Make Like Bridget Jones and Start a Food Diary to Keep Track of What You're Eating
A food diary will help you pinpoint where your diet goes wrong and can reveal your calorie intake, so you know if you are getting too many or too few calories.
Logging every bite you eat also forces you to take an honest look at your eating habits. You may not normally keep track of how many times you pick off your kids’ plates or taste food as you’re cooking it—but your journal will.
Prefer handwriting your diary the old-fashion way? Pick up the book "DietMinder Personal Food & Fitness Journal" or "The Calorie King Food and Exercise Journal." They offer a more structured approach and include helpful bonus tools.
You can also do your journaling online by signing up for free at MyFitnessPal.com or SparkPeople.com. They allow users to create an account, enter daily calories, and keep a history of foods. Users can also input nutritional and fitness goals to create a customized plan for themselves.
If you’re on the go, there are many mobile apps to help keep your journaling on track. Download the SparkPeople Diet and Food Tracker, MyFitnessPal, or MyNetDiary to your phone. Each app gives you a food database and the ability to add your own foods. They calculate nutritional values such as fat, carbs, and fiber, and even let you view graphs of your progress. Best of all, these apps are all free!
Do you reach for chips every night when you watch The Daily Show? Does having a fight with your boyfriend drive you straight to Ben and Jerry's? Start recording the circumstances that lead to mindless snacking and see if there’s a pattern. Then come up with a battle plan (calling a friend when you’re feeling down and craving chocolate, for example). And remember: Jon Stewart is just as funny without a bag of Doritos on your lap!