It’s true – studies have shown that writing down everything you eat or drink helps you lose weight faster and more effectively. Now before you click to close this post in annoyance, please realize that I’ve lost 217 pounds in just 13 months, and I’ve kept a food journal every single day.
Did that get your attention?
You can believe me when I say I was not thrilled about starting a food journal with this latest endeavor to reach a healthy weight last year. The idea of having to write down everything I ate, day-in and day-out, sounded like a completely annoying way to make my dieting experience that much more unpleasant. But I told myself to try it for two weeks, and now a meal or snack can’t go by without noting it in my journal!
A WebMD article discusses one study done in which around 1,700 obese adults were asked to keep a food journal while they tried to maintain a healthy eating habit. The article reported that the dieters who kept a food journal at least six days out of the week lost twice as much weight as those who only kept their journal one day a week, or no journal at all.
And a registered dietician and wellness manager at The Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute by the name of Kirstin Kilpatrick wrote an article explaining why food journaling is so effective for helping with weight loss. She explains it makes you aware of how much you actually eat, think about what you eat before you eat, portion out your food better and gain a better understanding of how food ties into your daily activities and mood.
Tracking my food for more than a year now, I can assure you the food journal does everything Ms. Kilpatrick says it does, and more! It really empowers you while you’re dieting by giving you a solid knowledge of exactly how many calories, carbs, fat, protein and sugars you’re eating meal by meal and for the whole day.
Armed with knowledge like this, you can mentally pre-plan your meals and snacks so you can cheerfully say “no” to those food temptations we all encounter in a day, knowing that you won’t have to write it down. And being able to look back over a day or a week and seeing how much healthier you’re eating is really a very powerful incentive to keep up the good work!
Keeping a food journal doesn’t have to be a chore either, especially now when there are several websites devoted to making your own personal journal. Personally, I use MyFitnessPal.com to log my meals and exercise, mainly because it’s free, has a huge database of food nutrition stats available and has the convenience of an app for smartphones and tablets.
There are other sites, like My-Calorie-Counter.com, FitDay.com, and MyFoodDiary.com to use, depending on your preferences. And if you’re away from a computer and have no portable device, just keep a little note pad in your pocket to write down what you had for a meal or snack so you can enter it later.
Another tip – keeping track of food right after you eat is better than trying to remember what you ate earlier that day.
I encourage you to give food journaling a try, and see if you don’t get hooked on the power and knowledge that you’ll get when you track what you eat, how much you eat and how much more effective you are on your diet.