If, when trying to lose weight, you find yourself  flying by the seat of your pants, you are likely to land on your rear end.

Taking stock of your daily diet, and taking measures, may be a pain. However, this can be an essential step in turning things around for yourself as you start on the path of losing weight and keeping it off.

To keep track of what is going on, create a diet diary. A pocket notebook will do.  Then, take a baseline.  This is a recording of what you are currently doing.  What foods do you consume, and in what amounts? Under what circumstances are you likely to eat excessively, and all the wrong types of food?  Do you finish off a six-pack of beer every day or so? How many calories are you consuming through drinking? Use this information to make adjustments.  For example, you may find some foods that are tasty and  nutritious and fit with your no-diet plan, providing you eat them in moderation.

The act of listing your eating habits can be an eye-opener. You may quickly see some trouble spots you can address.

The facts are friendly when you use them to build awareness into your no-diet plan.

Next, as you work to make changes in your eating habits, record what is happening.  Use this form of recording as a tool to target where you are doing well, and can do more of, or where you still lead yourself astray.

On the positive side of a ledger, 

1. Note how often you practice portion control. 

2. What do you tell yourself when you exercise restraint? 

On the negative side of the ledger,

1. How often do you go back for second and third helpings?

2. What do you tell yourself when you go back for extra helpings? 

3. Are there high-risk times when you are likely to over-consume? Are they stress related? Is this due to complacency?

Add a coping dimension to your diary.

1. What events activate excess consumption, or consuming hi carb foods when it is in your interest to stick with a lower calorie  but still  nutritious diet?

2. What do you tell yourself, or believe, that enables this excess consumption?

3. What emotions do you experience from what you tell yourself 

4. What emotions (cravings) do you feel before suspending (albeit temporary) your no-diet plan?

5. Based on these cravings or emotions, what do you tell yourself? For example, do you have an excuse for temporarily suspending your no-diet plan?

6. Do you distract yourself from food cravings and seeking "comfort food," or do you accept the feelings without acting upon them?

7. What coping tools work best for you to avert temporarily suspending your no-diet plan 

You can adapt Albert Ellis' famous ABC method to help yourself address the above issues. Double click on ABC method for an illustration on how to use the method/

Your diet diary is useful for other purposes:  (1) As you observe yourself, you may intuitively compare where you are in your progress to where you'd like to be. You are more likely to do what gets you a higher measure of proficiency.  (2) Use information from your diet diary to record the result of exercises that you find in the other no-diet blogs in this series.

(c) Dr. Bill Knaus

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