Eating better and losing weight are common New Year’s resolutions, and in the first week of 2018 many are probably sticking to the promises they made to themselves. A Mayo Clinic psychologist has a suggestion she says will help people stick by them longterm.

Dr. Karen Grothe said a food diary can be a valuable tool and, “It can be as simple as just writing down when you eat and what you eat. But, really, a more complete food diary would also include the serving size, the amount of calories.”

Grothe added that many people would probably be surprised by their calorie tally because, “We tend to underestimate what we eat by 50 percent if we’re not actually measuring and writing it down.”

Writing down daily food intake can help dieters make adjustments that may lead to greater success. Grothe said some may find, “Maybe I’m not getting a lot of calories earlier in the day, and they’re really loaded to the end of the day. Maybe I’m getting a lot of calories in the evening or after dinner time.”

Dr. Grothe said it’s best for people to try t make their diary entries as close to mealtime as possible, and suggests a, “Minimum of three days a week if you’re trying to lose weight.”

And every so often after you’ve reached your goal, stay accountable for what’s really on the menu in your life.