Planning of a dietCalories from nibbles and bites count just as much as the food you consume on a plate with a fork at the table. In fact, these mindless morsels are big diet derailers because most people fail to include them in their daily calorie count. Increase your chances of weight loss success by documenting what you eat. Keeping track of treats as well as meals can help you maintain healthful eating habits as well as your waistline.

If it goes in your mouth, it goes on the page

Most of us are guilty of what is commonly known as portion distortion. That is just a nice way of saying we eat more than we think we do. For example, you may think you only had two or three potato chips when you really had ten. Knowing that you will have to accurately account for what you consume can help you pay attention to how much you eat, and even eat less.

Try technology

There are all sorts of ways to keep a food diary. Experiment until you find a method that feels convenient enough to stick with. Apps like my food diary or my fitness pal make it easy to document what you eat and keep track of calories. These sites include thousands of food types and categories. Information about nutrient content and activity required to burn calories from your meals is included.

Paper and pen works as well

Whether you use an app on your phone or a pocket sized notebook aim to record everything you eat as you are eating it. Waiting until later will increase your chances of forgetting something or inaccurately recording how much you ate. Recording as you go will help you produce the most accurate picture of what you are eating. This is especially helpful when you hit a weight loss plateau. Accurate information can help you spot problems and tweak your eating plan.

Pick out patterns

Documenting what you eat can help you monitor how food impacts your mood. Keeping a log will also help you identify eating patterns. For example, do you eat more, or less healthfully, when you are stressed or anxious? Are you eating too late at night or skipping breakfast? Are your meals and snacks optimally spaced to maintain good levels of energy and discourage binge eating?

Liquid calories count, too

Documenting what you eat means keeping track of everything you put in your mouth. That includes all beverages.

Don’t judge

Use the data you record for information and guidance, not as an excuse to beat yourself up. Start wherever you are and make diet changes as you are able.

Studies have shown that documenting what you eat helps you lose more weight than you would if you did not keep a food diary. Why not give it a try? You have something to lose.