1. Write down everything you eat and drink for at least a week.
Keeping a food journal is helpful in a number of ways. Not only does writing down what you eat actually make you choose better foods (who wants to see on paper that they ate six doughnuts?), but it will also give you a sense of how much food you are really eating and what your specific problem areas might be. People can underestimate what they eat by up to 50 percent, so you may not perceive that you are eating as much as you are until you write it down. When you keep your food journal, make sure you note the time of day, portion size, and a rating of how hungry you are on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 = not hungry, 5 = ravenous). If you have access to a computer, you can use the MyFoodAdvisor tracker designed by the American Diabetes Association. Otherwise, a simple notebook or even some sheets of paper will do.
After you have kept your journal for a few days, you may notice that you often eat late at night or that you sometimes eat out of boredom rather than hunger. You may also find that you eat the same foods over and over (most people do) or that you skip meals and end up overeating when you finally get to the table.
In addition to helping you lose weight, keeping a food journal can help you avoid regaining it. If you have lost weight and find the scale creeping up again, start writing things down to get yourself back on track.