Penn Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery Program

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Dear Diary: Today I ate…

Cara Stewart, RD, LDN, member of the Penn Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery team, explains the benefits of keeping a food diary.

Keeping a food diary is an important first step when losing weight. Awareness and accountability are critical components of healthful eating and weight loss. Keeping a food diary raises your awareness of your diet, gives you control of your eating habits and helps you lose weight.

When starting a food diary, it is important to find a format that works well for you. Some options include a notebook, smart phone application or website, such as Lose It!, MyFitnessPal or SparkPeople. Many cell phone applications and websites have a database of nutrition values to help you accurately record and track your intake.

Tracking what you eat works best if you record your food and beverage intake as you go. Write down what, when, where and the quantity that you eat. Make sure to include all snacks and beverages even if you grab just one cracker on your way out the door.

Preparing food at home also gives you better control and knowledge of what you are eating. The more accurate your food diary, the better it can guide you to make healthy dietary choices and ultimately achieve successful weight loss.

Finally, be sure to review your journal weekly to assess if changes are needed.

Sample entry:

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