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 !

diet journal

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 Losing Weight: The Power of Food Journaling

Author: 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.

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 pieces.

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.

Take Control

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 health.

About the Author:
Julie J. Price is Director of Weight Management at HabitChanger.com, offering effective and empowering solutions for losing weight. Try our 42-day weight loss program at Losing Weight

Article Source: ArticlesBase.com - Losing Weight: The Power of Food Journaling