Of all the things that you do to lose weight, start by keeping a food journal before anything else. This daily dose of scribbling down what you’ve eaten, how much you’ve eaten, and when you’ve eaten, can give you the reality check that you need at the end of the day. Better still, it helps you keep off the pounds in the long run too.

The key to keeping an account of what you’ve eaten is in the details. You can’t just write down that you had a sandwich; your entry should look something like this: 1 chicken salad sandwich with lettuce, tomato, mayo on whole wheat toast.

You can amp up the results by using a calorie counter to note your intake. Studies suggest that this will help you make better food choices, evaluate your ups and downs in the day, and also help you understand which foods suit your body and digestive system the best.

A lot of new-age calorie counting apps can make this process a breeze. But, if you’re not that tech savvy, just go old school and keep a food journal instead.

Charlene Flanagan is a lifestyle journalist whose love for language drove her to earn her Bachelor’s degree in English literature, as well as pursue her Masters in Arts. Over the last five years, she’s contributed to a number of leading publications, and has particularly enjoyed reviewing books and restaurants, as well as interviewing celebrities. Her recent switch to a holistic lifestyle has her looking at her food choices very differently—although she won’t admit it. When she’s not busy writing up about workouts, home remedies, and skincare essentials, she spends her time being the quintessential city girl who’s excited to see what life has in store for her.