Weight management is a global issue that most of us can relate to. In wealthier countries where food is abundant, weight loss and maintenance are a concern for many. On the other hand, healthy weight gain or access to nutrient-rich food is an issue for the poor.
The lack of understanding about appropriate portion sizes and related nutrition information of food combined with misconceptions based on the latest diet trends contribute to life-long struggles with weight management. The internet is flooded with nutrition advice and miraculous food products from unqualified experts looking to profit from the misinformed consumer.
A balanced diet that is based on moderation and variety is essential for successful weight management. Another common issue is that many of us tend to underestimate how much we eat or drink. Maintaining a food journal or diary helps us get an accurate food history.
It is important to track every meal, snack, and drink for several days including at least one weekend. Our eating habits on weekends tend to be a little different from weekdays due to parties, eating out at restaurants, and schedule changes.
There are free calorie counters available online that make it easy to maintain a food journal. In addition, some websites also offer a free nutrition database. Ensure that your source of nutrition data is a qualified nutrition professional. A qualified nutrition professional has a degree in nutrition, board certification, and related work experience.
An accurate diet history helps us identify dietary issues like inappropriate food portion sizes, excessive consumption of sugary drinks, lack of healthy protein foods, late-night snacking, regular consumption of deep-fried snacks, intake of extra calories while snacking in front of the television, etc.
The goal is to make small incremental changes that address identified dietary issues and can be maintained over a lifetime. This is in sharp contrast to following a weight loss diet that drastically cuts calories, whole food groups like grains, or replaces regular food with diet shakes, etc. This kind of weight loss is hard to maintain as we tend to go back to old eating habits due to a lack of understanding of dietary issues.
Reliable websites offered by some qualified nutrition professionals also support specialized ethnic dietary requirements like vegetarian diets or Indian cuisine nutrition facts. Mobile phones make it convenient to maintain a food journal or diary even when you are away from your computer; calorie-counting apps help you stay on track. Take advantage of self-help tools offered by qualified experts and get health smart.