Daily Food Journal –
A food journal (also called a food diary or food log) is a useful tool for determining your daily calorie intake, and best of all, it doesn’t have to cost a thing. While it does require several days’ diligence, consider it a crash course in the nutritional content and portion sizes of the foods you’re eating. More importantly, it can help you identify emotional eating patterns, nutrient deficits, and foods you’re over-consuming. You’ll need measuring cups and spoons and an internet connection; you may also want to pick up a kitchen scale (widely available at stores that sell housewares like Target and Bed Bath and Beyond). Click here for a download-able journal to get you started.
On the first day of your log, begin tracking the calorie content of everything you eat and drink (don’t forget additives like sugar in your coffee or condiments like butter and salad dressing). This will mean reading a lot of labels, and here’s the important part: pay close attention to the portion size on the package. You may need to measure or weigh your food to calculate the exact number of calories you’re eating. This will also give you practice at eyeballing what the proper size should be. If you’re eating out or no label is provided (like produce), look to the web: many restaurants carry their nutrition info on their websites, and there are plenty of online calorie counters like CalorieKing.com.