Serial dieters would be thrilled to know that keeping a food journal can nearly double their weight loss. Being accountable to yourself in this way, even without extreme restrictions, is the key that can unlock the door to your dietary health and help shed those pounds quicker.
Food journals force us to pay attention to our eating patterns and what food combinations work to speed our weight loss along. Read on to learn why food journals are effective, as well as how to keep one.
Why Use A Food Journal?
When you are jotting down every food you eat, you are less likely to choose foods that aren’t good for you or at least less likely to eat senselessly and without any restraint.
You’ll begin to discipline yourself and make better food choices, so you can be proud of what’s being written in your journal. Whether or not someone else has access to it, your journal will begin to reflect how you should be eating.
It’s even more effective if you do share the journal with someone or a group of people who you can be accountable to, and the reason this works is because you won’t want to show someone else your bad eating habits. Splurging on cookies late at night three nights a week or ice cream and pizza for lunch is not something you’ll want others to see, so to look good in your own eyes and theirs, you will self-correct and have better results.
Counting calories is no fun, and very time consuming, but with a food journal you can simply record foods you eat, approximate amounts, and what time of day you’re eating.
It’s less technical, so it’s something you’re more likely to continue. Now, if you want to count calories until you develop a pattern of eating that works for you, then by all means do so. (You can use the U.S. Department of Agriculture Nutrient Database to find caloric information on over 8,000 foods at www.ndb.nal.usda.gov or the free calorie counter of nearly a million foods at www.myfitnesspal.com.) You may be surprised to find that you can eat fewer calories and still feel satisfied or that eating frequent, small meals is effective.
As time goes on, you’ll start to see a pattern of eating and if you notice on any given week that you’ve lost, say, 5 pounds, it will make you want to continue eating the types of foods you ate that particular week. Of course, it’s a no-brainer to try to incorporate more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lots of water into your diet, because these are known healthy foods. Once you get used to eating in a more disciplined manner, weight loss is inevitable. Studies prove that food journaling works!
Food Journal Success
You can have great success with journaling by noting things like exactly what, why, when, where and how much you eat; calories and nutrition info; how you feel before, during and after eating; whether you’re alone or with a group; changes in body weight and size; whether you had any physical activity that may have affected weekly weight loss; and even your sleep cycle.
Start out simple, though, by just recording foods in a notebook only until you get the hang of things. Then really zero in on all of these other details that help you to see the whole picture. You can later take your journaling online and share your results with others on the same path.