Just 5 more pounds!

Food Journal“I just need to lose those last 5 pounds (or 10 or 15).”  Have you ever said that?  Most people do at one time or another.  It is seems those pounds are the most problematic.  Maybe since the goal is in sight you tend to “take your eye off the ball”, you become a little lax, wishing and hoping that whatever you have done up to this point will just keep you going in the right direction.  How is that working for you? My guess is, not very well.  It is never easy to lose weight and my suggestion for getting those stubborn pounds off is probably something you have heard before and although you may not want to hear again, it does work.

My suggestion is easy to do, it is not fancy and you do not need a lot of pricy equipment.  Have you guessed what it is?  It is the dreaded food record.  Why dreaded?  It takes time and effort to do it correctly.  Food records are revealing or a waste of your time.  To get started, all your need is pen and paper—the easiest part. If you prefer a more tech approach, apps for your phone or on-line programs are available (some are free) plus there are a variety of food journals at your local bookstore.  However, none of these will help if you are not conscious, deliberate and complete about recording your intake.  Let’s break it down.

Conscious means you are aware of every morsel and sip that passes your lips–it is easy to forget that broken cookie or last bite of pasta from your children’s plate or that glass of wine you drank while preparing dinner.  Deliberate means every morsel and sip gets recorded shortly after consumption because it is easy to forget what you ate.  Being conscious and deliberate have the advantage of creating awareness and giving you the opportunity to ask yourself if you really want the food and if you are willing to write it down.  Finally, complete means you give an honest and exact measure and description of what you eat.  After all, it is all about calories.   Keeping these points in mind, take a look at this scenario.

It’s a typical day.  You have a quick breakfast at home then off to work, swinging by Starbucks on the way for a coffee.  Walking into the office you see a colleague left a plate of cookies in the break room.  Mid-morning rolls around and you pop into the break room to sample a chocolate chip cookie, your favorite.  Lunch is quick and at your desk.  Quitting time and as you drive home you think about what to have for dinner.  As you walk in the door you kick off your shoes, pour a glass of wine and get started on dinner.   After dinner you sit down to record your daily intake.  Here is what you recorded:

Breakfast:  Cereal, juice, toast

Lunch: Sandwich, chips and diet drink

Dinner: Chicken, vegetable, potato, salad, tea

Hummm….is this going to work?  Were you conscious of what you were eating—what about that coffee at Starbucks?  Was it just coffee or was it a tall caramel macchiato, what about that cookie or cookies, did you forget anything else?  Were you deliberate–when did you record your intake?  Were you complete–did you eat an entire chicken or just the breast?  How large was the breast—3 oz, 4 oz? ;   was it fried, grilled, roasted, with the skin on or off?  How much and what kind of juice did you have?  Where is that glass of wine or was it two glasses?  You get the idea.  An advantage of the tech approach to recording is that most programs have prompts for amounts, preparation and description of the food.  In addition, these programs calculate the calories but you have to be honest and precise to get an accurate calorie level.  Additional helpful information to record includes time of day, where you are when you eat and an assessment of your feelings when you eat.  All of the information in the food record reveals patterns in your food choices, serving sizes, problem time(s) of day and emotions related to your eating.   Now that you know what is really going on you can pinpoint the area(s) to work on to get you back on track and get those pesky pounds off.

Do you have some nutrition/wellness questions?  Let me know and I can address them in another posting.


About Kathie Nelson

I am a dietitian/nutritionist who has wandered the world---Asia and Europe and various states---coaching people who want to be healthier. I am a Health Coach for Take Shape for Life--a program that guides participants through the process choosing Habits of Health and achieving ultimate health. Take a look at my Take Shape for Life website: www.ingoodhealth.tsfl.com

My philosophy is summed up: Give a hungry person a fish and he eats for a day. I believe healthy food can taste good paired with a little wine and you have an eating plan you can enjoy for a lifetime.

I would love to hear your comments and suggestions for future posts.
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