Controlling Your Food Intake
Not all calories are equal and at times we can forget that drinks, with the exception of water, contain calories too. Carbohydrates and protein are lower in calories per gram compared to one gram of fat, however this does not mean you can eat as much as you want of these nutrients. Do not be fooled into thinking that if a food is low in fat, it is low in calories, it depends on the sugar content of the food (which is often replaced when a food is low in fat), how many calories are provided by the sugars and ultimately the number of total calories contained in the food. Consuming a high sugar diet will cause the sugar to be stored as fat, if this type of diet is practiced over a prolonged period of time and physical activity is reduced. Exercise and the type of diet followed both contribute towards controlling your weight.
Monitoring the types of food and drinks you consume each day in the form of a food diary will allow you to assess how much you are eating and drinking on a daily basis. For some, memory may fail them or they may not want to be reminded as to what they have consumed. Writing down what your current diet is, will certainly jog your memory as to the types of foods and drinks you are consuming, whether these are healthy or unhealthy choices!
Food Intake and Exercise
It is necessary to look at when you eat, how often you eat and are you eating correctly to fuel your body pre exercise and post exercise. By writing down the foods and drinks you consume and the times when you are consuming these, will give you an idea as to the potential reasons for poor sporting performance or health related symptoms such as; feeling fatigue or increased tiredness. These symptoms may be diet related. However, if these symptoms persist, it is recommended to consult your doctor as there may be other underlying reasons.
Each day your food intake should be balanced with nutrients however, the days when you are exercising less, you need to be consuming fewer calories as you are not burning as many calories as you would be during exercise. It is useful to include the time of exercise and the duration of exercise to ensure that you are not low in energy and that food is eaten at an appropriate time to benefit exercise and allow you to reach your sporting goal.
Psychological Effect on Food Intake
A food diary will highlight healthy foods, unhealthy foods and identify areas where your diet can be improved. Recording your food intake will also identify the triggers of overeating and very often will emphasise your individual eating patterns and habits. Psychological factors such as your emotions should explain your food choices and food preferences. It is also useful to note down how you are feeling each day to help with identifying why unhealthy foods are consumed at particular times. There will be occasions when you decide to eat unhealthy foods and drink alcohol, however it is important to remember that you should not feel guilty, it is only a concern when one day leads to a number of days of over eating or comfort eating. Monitoring your food intake by way of a food diary will help in the future to reduce the risk of increased calorie intake and allow you to take control of your dietary habits/patterns.
Recording your food intake will give you a rough guide as to whether your diet is balanced with nutrients and calories. Unless your food diary is analysed by a nutritionist, it is not possible for you to obtain an accurate account on how many calories you are consuming and the percentage of nutrients (carbohydrates, fats and protein) based on your food diary. By knowing how many calories you are consuming and ensuring that the recommended nutrients are made available to your body will help to sustained exercise, aid recovery and improve your wellbeing.