Can you recall what you ate in the last 24 hours? Go ahead, write down everything that you can remember. Does it look accurate? Did you remember how much salad dressing you used? How many times did you dip your hands into the bag of nuts or chips? How many cups of coffee did you have where you added cream & sugar?

During a recent study, it was reported that most overweight and obese people under-reported what they ate in a 24 hour time period. This means that they are not fully aware of everything they’re eating, don’t count certain items because it wasn’t a sit-down meal, or have really bad memories. No matter the reason, food journaling can help you become more aware of your choices.

It is important to track what you eat and drink for a few days to a few weeks so that you are fully aware of the amount and types of food you are eating as well as the times you eat. We call this food journaling; not calorie counting because counting calories can be a daunting task.

It is difficult to do especially if you are making a lot of home-cooked meals from things that do not come in a package. It is also time-consuming to add everything up and it can become more stressful than it is worth. We see a lot of people who are struggling to lose weight and can’t figure out why because they think they’re doing everything right.

Sometimes, the stress of watching what you eat and worrying about if you’re doing it right can be enough to make you hold on to that extra fat. Most people don’t realize how unbalanced their diets are until they sit down with a specialist and go over a 3-7 day food journal. Start tracking your food and see if it pairs up with your goals.

There are many ways to keep a food journal. Everyone has a smartphone today, and you can access many food tracking apps from your phone which most people carry around close by all day long. Or you can log into one from a computer. So there are no excuses if you work at a computer all day! Some apps we recommend are “Lose it!” and “My Fitness Pal.”

At Ellicott City Health and Fitness we offer a service called Food Journal Review.There are various options available to meet each individual’s needs, and they are based on keeping a food journal and having a licensed nutritionist review that journal on a weekly basis. Our nutritionist will leave comments and suggestions right in your journal so you know what changes you need to make and how. Contact us if you are ready to take control of your health through dietary monitoring and want to learn more about the services we offer.

Having a better understanding of what you eat can help you control cravings, and lose fat. You can start to look at food differently and improve your fitness by fueling your body the right way. Working with a certified and licensed nutritionist will help you meet your fitness goals