How to Keep a Food Diary

Although you don’t need to count every calorie or carbohydrate gram, you’ll find that keeping track of what you’re eating is a very powerful aid, especially during the first six weeks on the eating plan when you’re still getting used to the new concepts. Moreover, it’s too easy to slide back into your old eating habits if you aren’t monitoring yourself. Keeping a diary will keep you conscious of whether you’re getting enough protein and veering away from refined carbohydrates. You should also keep track of the tactics you use to incorporate the nutrition plan into your life. One rule of thumb I tell my patients: Shop the periphery of the supermarket (which has the produce and protein-rich meats, cheese and fish) rather than the inner aisles (which tend to have more processed foods). Try this and record the results in your diary. You’ll have a record to look back on if you slip off the plan.

Make a copy of the following worksheet and use it every day to fill in what you’ve eaten for your meals and snacks. Since your daily routine should vary, you need to think about your day’s activities. Are you going out to dinner? Will you be on the road tomorrow during lunchtime? What lunch and snacks are you going to pack? Are you having guests for the weekend? How can you make the food choices interesting and healthy? Do you need to meet a client at a restaurant for a breakfast meeting? If so, what will you order?

Be honest with yourself! Record what you’ve eaten. This includes that cookie you sneaked from the pantry or that handful of jellybeans you grabbed from a co-worker’s candy dish. All those nibbles can add up to an enormous amount of carbohydrates that you may not be accounting for. (They can very likely also be the culprits behind your still sagging energy levels.) I would also suggest you keep track of any symptoms (tiredness, pain, low energy, irritability, mood swings, etc.) you may have felt throughout the course of the day.

Daily Meal Record

Download this Food Diary as a PDF

BREAKFAST

(Protein source)___________________ Estimated % of meal ______________

(Carbohydrate source) ______________ Estimated % of meal ______________

(Fluid) ___________________

How you felt (mood, energy and hunger) 90 minutes after breakfast: ______________

MORNING SNACK

(Protein source)___________________ Estimated % of meal ______________

(Carbohydrate source) _______________ Estimated % of meal ______________

(Fluid) ___________________

How you felt (mood, energy and hunger) thirty minutes later: ___________________

LUNCH

(Protein source) ___________________ Estimated % of meal ______________

(Carbohydrate source) ______________ Estimated % of meal ______________

(Fluid) ___________________

How you felt (mood, energy and hunger) one to three hours after lunch: ___________________

AFTERNOON SNACK

(Protein source) ___________________ Estimated % of meal ______________

(Carbohydrate source) ______________ Estimated % of meal ______________

(Fluid) ___________________

How you felt (mood, energy and hunger) thirty minutes later: ___________________

DINNER

(Protein source) ___________________ Estimated % of meal ______________

(Carbohydrate source) _______________ Estimated % of meal ______________

(Fluid) ___________________

How you felt (mood, energy and hunger) 90 minutes after dinner: ___________________

AFTER DINNER or BEDTIME SNACK

(Protein source) ___________________ Estimated % of meal ______________

(Carbohydrate source) _______________ Estimated % of meal ______________

(Fluid) ___________________

How you slept, and how you felt (mood, energy and hunger) upon waking: _________________________________________________________

Sticking to the Meal Plan – Without Cheating

I need to warn you that once you begin to feel better on my plan and have achieved a healthy weight, you may be tempted to let the rules slide. If you’ve ever been on a diet, you know how easy it is to go back to your old eating habits once you’ve achieved your desired weight — or even as you begin to notice a change in your weight. And you know how it starts: You allow yourself a bowl of ice cream after dinner, then you sneak a slice of birthday cake at a co-worker’s party. Pretty soon, you’re eating more carbohydrates than ever, maybe without even realizing that you’ve gone back to your old habits.

Summing Up

The nutrition program encompasses two basic strategies:

The first strategy is to balance your protein, carbohydrate, and fat intake so that each provides roughly one-third of your daily calories.

The second strategy is to be selective about the proteins, fats and carbohydrates that you choose, always aiming for the most nutritious options based on a diet intended by nature.

You may need to avoid certain foods that your body is sensitive to or take certain vitamin or mineral supplements for nutrients that you’re deficient in. Remember that you are the architect of your life.

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