Updated: October 09, 2012

This week I'm dedicating my posts to overcoming what's known as the health behavior gap – in a nutshell why we have trouble following through with the things we want to do better or differently. Yesterday I blogged about why setting specific, measurable and attainable goals is key. Another particularly useful tool to help you succeed is to keep a food diary.

A few years ago I created one with my colleague called The Ultimate Diet Log that combines these two strategies. In the beginning of the book there's a 5 day assessment that allows you to identify what you're doing well and what needs improvement. Based on the results, you select a few specific, measurable goals and track them daily, along with recording what and how much you eat and drink each day. There are 17 to choose from, from swapping out refined grains for whole grains or replacing soda with water to stopping when you're full (or you can create your own). I encourage "loggers" to track a goal until it feels effortless, then choose a new one.

This step-by-step process can be extremely empowering because you're focusing on just a few manageable goals at a time and can see your progress right on the page. There's also a weekly round-up that asks you to think back on the previous week and identify what went well, what didn't and what you learned that might help you be a bit more successful in the week to come. This kind of self-reflection can really help you break down barriers.

Do you or have you ever kept a food diary? If so did it help? Please share your thoughts.

P.S. When it comes to weight loss, research shows that keeping a food diary can double your results and help you keep that weight off for good!

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