Keeping a food diary can be a great reality check for someone trying to lose weight. With all your bad habits there in black and white, it is hard to pretend that the glass of wine, slice of cheese and chocolate bar doesn’t add up.

Writing down what you eat and drink has been proven to be an effective tool for weight loss. Not only does it hold you accountable for what you consume but it also a valuable tool when your weight loss plan goes off track.

A study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found that dieters who kept daily food records lost around double the amount of weight than those who did not. (This was in conjunction with moderate-intensity exercise and attending group sessions with other study participants).

Food diaries are an effective weight loss tool as they give insights into patterns of eating. It helps you become more aware of when you might eat extras without realising it. It is best to write it down straight away as you can forget later in the day. People can under-report food intake by up to 50% when they report from memory. It’s not deliberate, people forget, it is mindless eating when the calories slip in.

If you reach a week when your weight loss plateaus, which is normal in any weight loss journey, you can look back at a week when you did have a good weight loss and see what you ate compared to now.

Keeping a diary makes you accountable and also helps you to build an awareness that will lead to changing habits and behaviour. Quoting Dr Phil “you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge”.