One of the best parts of teaching fitness classes is the time before-hand when we are waiting for the previous class to finish. It’s my happy place because I get to chat to people, meet first timers, find out what my regulars have been up to and help to create a good energy before we work out together. Yesterday before class I went up to a “twenty something” girl who had a big smile on her face. I had met her before so I started with my normal intelligent lead-in question: ‘What’s the goss?’ During our conversation she told me how she had managed to lose 30kg in the last six months!
I’ve been lucky in that I’ve never had to worry about weight problems so I’m always fascinated with what people do to create such a life-changing shift. I asked her how she had accomplished this. The first thing she said was, ‘I used a food diary’. She paused, and then listed a few other things but it was pretty obvious that she felt the food diary was the key to her massive success. This wasn’t a one-off revelation to me, nor to anyone else in the fitness industry I’m sure. Countless times over the years when people have lost weight, the use of a food diary has been the key to their success.
Most of our activities in our day-to-day lives are just habits that we repeat from the day before. As this is habitual, we don’t often stop and have a look at what those habits are, nor whether they are slowly taking us away from where we want to be physically. If we want to create some change around what we are doing, we need to have better self-awareness of the actions we take. That’s why the food diary is such a great tool; when you write down what you eat every day you see where you are eating too much and where you are eating the wrong types of foods. This gives you a clear direction on what you should be doing with your future eating decisions.
I know there are different levels of understanding around nutrition and there is so much information out there about what we should and shouldn’t eat. To make it simpler to understand and follow, think of food as energy and ask yourself this question: How much energy (nutrition) am I putting in for the energy that I put out (all the physical activity you do). If you focus on your energy levels, when you are keeping a food diary you can look for little ways to reduce your energy intake. It becomes really clear in which areas you can cut back some of the energy in.
If you want to lose weight, give it a try. Commit to writing a food diary for a week and see what effect it has on your eating decisions. My experience tells me that it will have a massive influence.