Learn What You Currently Eat and Drink
Did you know that:
- The #1 source of calories in the American diet is desserts - like cakes and cookies?
- Americans get more calories from sugary drinks than any other beverage choice?
Identifying what you are eating and drinking now will help you see where you can make better choices in the future.
If you want to make changes to improve the way you eat and your body weight, the first step is to identify what you do now. This includes becoming more aware of:
- What and how much you eat and drink
- How physically active you are
- Your body weight
People who are most successful at losing weight and keeping it off track their intake regularly. Tracking physical activity and body weight can also help you reach your weight goals.
- Write down what and how much you eat and drink. Find a way that works for you. Use a journal, log your intake on your calendar, keep track on your phone, or use an online tool like the SuperTracker.
- Start by identifying what you've already eaten today. Be sure to include how much as well as what you ate. Don't forget to include drinks, sauces, spreads, and sides. It all counts.
- In addition, write down the physical activities you do, and how long you spend doing each one. Log each activity that you do for at least 10 minutes at a time. Every bit adds up. Use the SuperTracker, a journal, a tracking form, or mark a calendar.
- Once you've identified what you are doing now, keep it up! Tracking what and how much you eat and drink, your body weight, and your physical activity can help you manage your body weight over the long term.
Concerned about identifying what you eat and drink? Here are some common "stumbling blocks" and ideas to help you overcome these barriers:
"I'm interested in using an online tool, but I don't have internet access every day."
If you don't have regular access to a computer, you can begin by simply writing down what, when, and how much you eat in a journal. Just writing down what you eat and drink helps you become more aware. When you are able to access a computer, you can enter several days of intake into the SuperTracker at once.
"It takes a lot of time to track my intake."
The fact is that tracking works. Find a way that you can track your intake that works for you – whether it be writing what and how much you eat and drink in a journal, your day planner, or your calendar. With the SuperTracker, you can develop lists of your favorite foods that can help you enter your intake more quickly.
"By the time I get to a computer, I've forgotten what I ate."
For tracking to work, it needs to be complete. If necessary, carry a food journal or log your intake on your smart phone. Logging what you eat immediately will help your tracking to be more accurate.
"I can identify what I ate, but have no idea of how to figure out how much I ate".
Measure out foods you regularly eat (such as a bowl of cereal) once or twice, to get a sense of how big your typical portion is. Also measure out what 1/2 or 1 cup portion size looks like to help you estimate how much you eat.
Check the serving size information on the Nutrition Facts label of packaged foods. It describes what the "standard" serving size is, and how many are in the package.