How many calories do you eat each day? Most women say 1200. But if you add in the sugar packets in your coffee, a few sticks of gum and that handful of trail mix you ate today, that number may be higher than you think. The only way to really know how many calories you’re eating is to keep a food journal.
There are plenty of apps to help you – MyFitnessPal is my favorite* – and here are a few tips to get the most out of your counting:
- Record what you put in your mouth as soon as you do it. You may forget little things that may add up later. And if you have a selective memory you might also “forget” things that you shouldn’t have eaten.
- Take notes and check for patterns. If you found that you tend to hit up the vending machine at 3pm every day, maybe you can pack a healthy snack for when the craving hits. Maybe you’re starving yourself all day and then binging at night? A great key to weight loss is eating your heaviest meals earlier in the day.
- Don’t forget your exercise. It’s easy to just say that you’ll go to the gym tomorrow, but if you actually record your workouts, you’ll be able to see how much you’ve accomplished and you’ll be motivated to keep going.
- Hydration is key. The best thing about a journal is you can even keep track of how much water you’re drinking. Drinking lots of water will keep you fuller between meals and will help replenish fluids you lose while you’re exercising.
- Be honest. No one is going to see this but you. If you ate a whole pint of ice cream yesterday… WRITE IT DOWN. This is not a shame book. This is a journal to keep you on track and focused.
*MyFitnessPal is my favorite because when you close out each day it let’s you know how much you’d weigh if every day was like today. Pretty motivating!