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To be honest with you, I've never been a fan of Meatloaf (the singer not the food).
And now, through no fault of his I like him even less.
For reasons that I'll come to in a minute I've had one of his songs running around in my head today, I've not enjoyed it, but the little devil has lodged itself firmly in.
So I looked up when it was released.
It's 24 years old.
It's probably got a car, kids and a student loan it'll never be able to pay off.
I thought it was still on Top Of The Pops (that's still on right?).
Anyways....it isn't even properly his song that's trotting around my head. It's a slightly bastardised version based on a few incidents in the last month.
It goes "I would do anything for abs, oh I would do anything for abs, but I won't do that".
Sing it to yourself, go on, you know the tune....I'm sure it won't still be running around your head in three hours time.......
So reasons for said song is this......
Client: "I want to be in great shape in x time, I'll do anything, anything at all"
Handsome trainer: "cool. Will you do a food diary then please?"
1 week later.....
Handsome trainer: "How's the food diary coming along?"
Client: "Yeah, about that. I started it, but then it was Dave from the offices birthday and we had a few glasses, so I started again. But then there were these biscuits and it wasn't very good....so I'll um do it, soon, kinda, perhaps....."
Before we go any further, a food diary is a record of what a person eats or drinks. I do mine over a three day period with one day being a weekend day.
The aim is for me to be able to get an idea of where someone is right now with their lifestyle. To find the simplest thing that we can change that will have the greatest positive impact in getting that person closer to their goals.
It also helps the person doing the food diary to become aware of patterns in their behaviour that they hadn't noticed.
And it's a really effective tool.
What it isn't in any way is some sort of moral judgement.
I think we use the words "good" or "bad" about food far too often.
"I was good on Wednesday and had celery, lettuce and hunger pains, but then I was bad on Thursday when I ate all the biscuits".
What you eat doesn't make you good or bad.
It's not murder.
It's just a choice you made about you ate.
But if you feel bad and guilty about what you ate then you'll more likely feel like you need cheering up and make more decisions that don't serve you best.
Guilt and shame are the two feckers that keep so many people stuck in cycles they struggle to break.
The food diary is nothing to have an emotional attachment too. It's just a record of where you are now.
A reference point.
After all, you can't crest a map to get somewhere if you don't know where you are right now.
Handing it over to a coach is highly uncomfortable for most folks. I've done it myself to see what it was like to be on the receiving end and felt like I was back at school handing in an essay that I'd rushed the night before.
Even if you don't have a coach or trainer of some kind I highly recommend keeping a diary as it is really surprising what you find out about yourself.
Especially if you're convinced that you eat all the "right" things but struggle to lose weight.
So what do you do?
You record everything that passes your lips for three days.
Well, maybe not everything, some things are best kept to you ahem.
But any drinks, snacks, sauces on foods all get recorded along with an idea of portion size. Along with what time you consumed it.
There are a few ways you can do this.
Pen and paper - as a full time techtard this is my preferred method. It means having your recording sheet or a notebook with you at all times for the three days. Don't trust yourself to do it later. We have a nasty habit of wearing rose tinted glasses or simply forgetting to do it at the end of the day.
Take a photo - we've all got phones with so many gadgets they'd be thought ridiculous and over the top in a James Bond film.
So whip out your snazzy camera phone and take a snap of what's about to go into your face hole.
Use an app - for all you crazy tech lovers there are loads of food tracking apps. The most popular seems to be "My Fitness Pal". In all honesty I haven't used it yet, but I will be this week as a client has used it for their diary. But I understand it does a couple of handy things like give you an idea of how many calories your diary comes to.
There are probably other ways.
Whatever works best for you is the option you should go for.
Remember, this is only an assessment to see what's going on in your life before creating a plan of how to progress.
After all, if you're not assessing you're just guessing.