While eating sustains us, we all know overeating or eating the wrong foods adds unwanted weight. When trying to lose excess weight, It is often difficult to stick to a diet for very long. Exercise helps but if you really want to shed unwanted pounds and incorporate a healthy eating lifestyle, you need to start looking at what and when you are eating.
Pay Attention to Everything you Eat
I never paid much attention to that handful of corn chips I ate in between meals or that cookie I had with my coffee but since starting a healthy eating approach and a desire to lose about 10 pounds, I have become more conscious of when and what I eat.
For me the easiest way to do this is to jot down everything I eat into a journal that I keep especially for this purpose. I look forward to adding up my total calorie intake at the end of the day and it is very rewarding to know that I am working towards my weight loss goals and incorporating a healthy lifestyle change.
Keep Daily Entries in a Journal
The following is a sample of a daily journal entry
February 1st Total Calories –
Breakfast: toasted oat cereal w/ 1/2 banana, 1/2 cup milk, and coffee w/milk…….…230
Mid-morning snack: 1/2 cup low-fat yogurt ………………..85
Lunch: grilled chicken spinach salad with white balsamic vinaigrette,
water with lemon, hot tea with milk, 1 cookie ……………..340
Mid-afternoon snack: apple…………….75
Dinner: 4 oz. of broiled salmon, 1 cup of asparagus spears,
medium sweet potato with 1 pat of butter and 1 t. brown sugar, and
one glass of white wine…………………600
Dessert: 1 small chocolate truffle …………..79
Keep Your Goals In Mind
My goal is to lose ten pounds and by keeping my daily food intake between 1600- 1800 calories, I hope to lose the weight at a more gradual pace. I know if I cut my daily calories lower than this I may not be able to stick with it so I set my goals at a realistic pace that is best suited for me. There are sites such as MyFitnessPal where you can sign up and find calorie values to help you get started and set your own realistic weight loss goals.
For greater success, it is important to go at a pace you are comfortable with and not set unrealistic goals.
You can look up the calories as you go, but I wait until the end of the day to do this using my smart phone or computer and total all the entries I have made in my journal for that day. It is important to be as specific as you can when making your entries, i.e. 1/2 cup of yogurt or one small apple.
If I stay under 1800 calories for the day, I feel good that I am achieving my goals. If I ate out or had a special event to attend, I realize I will most likely be over my allotted calories but I still look up and record whatever the number is and then try again the next day.
Keeping a journal promotes awareness of what and when you are eating so you can ultimately make better choices.
Knowing how many calories you consume along with daily exercise is a great way to start and achieve your weight loss goal. More importantly, I know I will be incorporating a healthy lifestyle into my day to day life which is my ultimate goal.
You can read more from Maria about healthy eating and healthy lifestyle choices here.