Learning From Your Food Planner and Tracker
Use the information you store in your tracker to increase your awareness of the calories you consume
WHY USE A FOOD PLANNER AND TRACKER?
A food planner and tracker lets you record information about the foods you eat and your eating patterns. The better you understand these patterns, the easier it can be to establish new ones. After logging meals and snacks in a food planner and tracker for a while, you'll have a better idea of how many meals you eat each day and the types of food you enjoy. You should also know when you are most hungry and where you are most likely to eat. Your job now is to look at your eating habits, consult with your healthcare provider, and try to correct the troublesome ones.
Carefully reviewing your food planner and tracker will help you discover your unique eating patterns.
Let’s look at an example of automatic eating with someone we’ll call Ginny. She loved ice cream and ate a bowl every night. With instruction, she began counting her bites and noting the pleasure in each one; she averaged 16 bites. Ginny found that the first 4 bites were delicious and then there were about 10 bites where she paid little attention to what she was eating (automatic eating). The final few bites were good because she was nearly finished. With her increased awareness, Ginny decided that the middle 10 bites were needless calories.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR EATING PATTERNS
As you try to uncover eating patterns, pay careful attention to the following topics:
- Time. Look for times of day when you are likely to eat. A typical pattern shows little eating at breakfast and lunch, but much eating and snacking at dinner and afterwards. Do you crave a snack just before bed? Do you always have something to eat in the mid-afternoon? Are your meals irregular? Do you skip meals? Make sure you account for the foods you eat, especially in places other than your kitchen or dining room, such as the den, the office, or your car.
- Amount. Look over the amount and calories of the food you eat. One key is to enjoy what you eat so you do not waste calories. Are there foods that you could eat less of or avoid completely? Could you reduce your portion size? Do you eat specific amounts each time without thinking about how much you need and want?
- Foods. Pay close attention to the foods you eat. Can you find patterns in the foods you choose? The “hearts” option may help you with that. Which foods contribute most to your calories? Can you think of substitutes for high-calorie foods?
Remember to review your the entries you've logged in your food planner and tracker with your healthcare provider, who is in the best position to suggest changes that are best for you.