Lose Fifty Percent More on Any Diet
The secret to losing more
weight on ANY diet is to keep a food journal. Studies show this
is that those that keep a food journal are fifty percent more
effective on their diet !
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Losing Weight: The Power
of Food JournalingAuthor:
Julie J. Price
So many of us say we want to lose weight or eat healthier,
but frequently we don't realize what we're actually eating. We
understand that a diet of fried food is bad, or that we need to
limit our deserts, but we may not appreciate how much of these
foods we are managing to sneak into our diets. Fortunately,
there is a very simple tool called a food journal that can help
us take measure of our eating habits. From there we can learn
to manage what we eat.About the Author:
What is it?
A food journal is a daily record of all the foods you eat -
every meal, snack, or drink consumed throughout the day is
written down to provide a comprehensive record. The level of
detail can vary. Some journals include only the items in each
meal. The best ones record at least some basic nutritional
information, which can include portions, number of calories, or
the levels of fat and cholesterol. To make it fun, some people
even include personal reviews of the food they eat.
What does writing have to do with dieting?
Of course, the act of writing won't burn enough calories to
help you lose that weight. The real benefit of the journal is
to give you a comprehensive list. If you diligently record your
meals for seven days, you can examine the levels of calories
and fat you've taken in and begin to understand your own eating
behaviors. The longer you journal, the more information you
gain about yourself. This information allows you to make
informed choices about your intake and can lead you to a level
of awareness that will help you make better decisions.
So how do I get started?
First, you need to get the journal set up. Keep in mind that
the journal doesn't have to be a fancy leather-bound book. You
can easily set up a document on your computer or use a simple
spiral bound notepad available at any drugstore. There are even
iPhone apps available (like 'Lose It') that can make recording
meals easy. Pick the method you're most comfortable with.
Next, you will need to identify your system. Simply recording
the meals you eat is a start, but the more information you
enter the better. Pick information types (called 'metrics')
that fit with your goals. If you want to lose weight, you will
probably need to record calories consumed. If you're concerned
about your heart, then cholesterol, salts and certain fats will
be your focus.
Finally, when you start journaling, make sure to keep it
simple. Begin by recording the meals and portions you eat for a
full week. At the end of the week, go back and fill in the
metrics for each day and then your totals for the week. These
totals will give you a 'big picture' snapshot that you can use
to measure your overall goals. The day-to-day entries will
allow you to break down any needed changes into manageable
What does it mean?
You'll probably be surprised by what you find but don't get
discouraged. Nearly everyone gets a shock when they see just
what their real diets look like. Keep with it. The longer you
record the information, the better and more complete the
picture will become.
If you're on a 2,000-calorie a day diet, the week should be
about 14,000 calories. If you went up to 18,000, you will know
that somehow you ate an extra two days' worth of food during
the week. This is good information that will not only help to
identify a problem, but also the degree of the problem. In this
example, if you can eliminate just 300 calories per day, you
will have achieved your goal.
Since you'll be making a complete record of each meal, and
noting the values associated with the meal, you will be able to
see where you can 'win back' some of your meals. Maybe it will
be from omitting a daily snack here and there or reducing the
size of a meal by a small amount. Either way, you have the
information you need to begin taking steps to modify your
eating behavior. This applies to any metric you choose - keep a
good record, tally up the numbers, and you will see the
patterns that you need to change.
The biggest advantage of food journaling is that it really is
easy to do. It can take some practice but the time commitment
is minimal. It takes less than a minute to write down that you
had a roast beef sandwich, a bag of chips, and a soda for
lunch. If you only take another two minutes to research the
nutritional information in that meal and write it down, you've
committed only three minutes. For as little as one hour per
week you can account for every meal. It's a small step that you
can easily fit into your existing routine. Once it becomes
habit, you will have information that isn't just generalized or
abstracted, but very specific to your personal needs. And you
can take control of your eating and your
Julie J. Price is Director of Weight Management at
offering effective and empowering solutions for losing
weight. Try our 42-day weight loss program at Losing
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Losing Weight: The Power of Food Journaling