How to Keep a Successful Food Diary

"You make conscious decisions all through the day about what you will and won't eat," he said. "If you just go on autopilot throughout the day with regard to food, most people in this country gain weight, which is, unfortunately, what two-thirds of the population has done."

Tips for Keeping a Successful Food Diary

Write in a small journal so you can carry it with you.

Measuring food in cups makes it easier to estimate calories.

No need to write down low-calorie vegetables and fruits like lettuce, broccoli or grapefruit -- they don't count.

Eat more frequently but with smaller portions to help stay full.

The Stanberrys say it's important to treat yourself once in a while. And if they are eating out at a restaurant, they choose one with large portions but split them in half.

"It's a lifestyle," Randy said. "We don't call it a diet. It's a change in behavior. This is what we're going to do the rest of our lives."

Stevens says that a food diary works even better if you're dieting with a partner or friend. He also recommends forming a neighborhood group. When other people can see your diary you're more likely to try and be good.

Most importantly, honesty is crucial for this diet to work -- if you eat it, write it down.

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