Record What You Eat and Drink

Following a low-sodium, high K-factor diet plan will put you more in touch with your body and its relationship to food than ever before. I’m sure you want to begin as quickly as possible.

Starting a food diary is the best way to jump right in. Purchase a small spiral notebook, preferably small enough to fit into a pocket, purse, or briefcase. Record what you eat and drink, how much, when, and why.

In addition, at the beginning or end of each day, note your blood pressure and pulse rate. Each evening, evaluate your food in one or two sentences: Was it low sodium, high potassium? Was it balanced? Did you eat enough? Did you eat too much?

Just as each journey—no matter how long—starts with the first step, each life accounts for an enormous amount of food taken one bite at a time. You are now going to make each bite work for you! You will probably discover that low-sodium, high-potassium eating is easy.

The advantage of keeping a food diary was vividly illustrated when a colleague at Georgetown Medical School conducted an experiment with some students who wanted to lose weight.

The professor introduced me and told the students I was researching food habits and would like each of them to keep a food diary. Each was given a standard spiral notebook in which they listed everything they ate or drank, how much, when, and why.

Then each night before retiring, each student spent ten minutes reviewing the foods he’d eaten and wrote a short twenty-five-word summary critiquing his selections. Every member of that group lost weight.

Two years later, the professor who kept in touch with them told me all of them had kept it off. They selected food better than most dietitians would select.

They told me that the act of thinking through what they ate forced them to take control, and each recognized what she could do to control her eating habits and still enjoy food.

New food habits came to these students almost instinctively. There is no special way to keep a food diary. Just write what you ate and when, why you chose that food, and whether it was within your low-sodium, high-potassium target.

When you take your blood pressure, include the results in your diary—that’s the ultimate scorecard. I have seen people adopt many types of diaries for these or similar objectives.

Some people have used commercial daytime planners, others have used elaborate computer recorders. Whatever works is fine. But remember that three things are absolutely essential: honesty, keeping track of everything you eat, and paying attention to the results.

Your end-of-the-day critique is the most important step of all. If done correctly, it will give you a better understanding of yourself and your relationship to food. I’ve noticed that more medical experts have people keep a food diary. This concept can work for you as you seek to improve this aspect of your life.