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The benefits of keeping a food log

By Tasha McRae

At LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic, we teach and coach our members to adopt healthy eating habits to improve their nutrition, energy level and help them maintain or lose weight. One of the tools we encourage people to use is a food log, or a list of what you eat and drink each day. It is especially helpful when you are first trying to change your diet and incorporate healthier eating habits.

Food logs can help create some self-awareness around your eating patterns. Often we do not realize how much we snack and eat throughout the day.

A food log can enable us to become aware of what, when and even why we are eating. Counting calories is labour-intensive and research tells, us even good calorie-counting tends to have a measurement error of about 25%.

A food log is not about being perfect. In fact, being honest and writing down the actual foods that you are eating is far better than not being honest about your choices, as it allows you to make real choices about your real habits.

Sometimes, when we have a friend, nutritionist or health coach look at our food log, we edit and omit food we have consumed out of fear of judgement. Although you can have someone else review your food log to observe what you are eating, the research shows that eating habits improve by keeping your own food log even if no one else is going to review it. It’s a great tool to try!

Tracking even one week of your eating will give you a window into your typical habits and allow you to make decisions about what needs to change, or perhaps what you should be proud of!

There are lots of apps that can help you log your food but it can be as simple as just writing down in a notebook what how much you eat for the day and keeping track over a week.

If you would like to learn more about healthy eating and how to adopt regular exercise and a healthier, more active lifestyle, we would love to help you. Book your free Program Consultation today to learn more.

Tasha McRae, BHK, ACSM, CES/CET, is a certified exercise physiologist and Director of Culture & Talent at LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic