For those trying to lose weight, a daily food journal can be a useful tool for changing eating habits. It is certainly less stressful than counting calories or vowing to give up 95% of the foods that bring you pleasure. These techniques rarely end well. Instead, try writing down everything you eat for a couple of weeks, including amounts. The initial goal isn’t to change what you eat but to create a record of your current eating habits.
After a couple of weeks, you’ll have a good idea of your biggest pitfalls. Identify a couple of them, and start making changes. Whether it’s pastry with the afternoon coffee break or the chocolate bar you eat when you’re stressed, pick a couple of bad habits to target. One bad habit can equal a few hundred calories a day. For example, if you’re starving at 10 am and usually eat a two or three hundred calorie snack, you have a morning hunger issue. You could try adding protein to your breakfast combined with shifting your breakfast time to an hour later. Together these two changes might eliminate the need for a mid-morning snack. Even if you just work your way down to a lighter mid-morning snack, you’ll have made a small daily difference.
Once your journal begins to reflect progress in a couple of areas, the small daily differences will start to add up. As you repeat the cycle of identifying and addressing bad eating habits, you’ll find that you’ve created a healthy eating that’s tailored to your own individual eating patterns. This is going to give you much more long term success than challenging resolutions that collapse under the weight of unrealistic expectations.