If you want to lose weight then you need to keep a seven day food and exercise journal. Several research studies related to easy weight loss has shown that people that keeps and maintain a journal of food intake and weight loss exercises performed each day lose more weight and keep more of the weight off over a long period of time.
The National Weight Control Registry–an ongoing research project tracking more than 3,000 people who’ve lost an average of 66 pounds and kept it off for five years–found that keeping a food journal is the one strategy used by the majority of successful dieters. In another study of 1,685 dieters conducted by a health insurance company, the best predictor of weight loss throughout the first year was the number of food records kept per week. Another recent study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that dieters who tracked their food intake in a “food diary” lost twice as much weight as those who didn’t track their food.
This is why the Nutrition Tracker found on the SparkPeople Website (you will have to sign up free to get access to the Nutrition Tracker) is such a good tool to track you food and exercise activity each day. It provides you a proven, fighting chance to lose weight. If you’re not yet a Nutrition Tracker user, try it out for a few days and see if it doesn’t help you make better choices, too.
Why keep a food journal?
- When you start writing food down you will start to make better choices.
- You will realize the total quantity of food you are consuming and help you make decisions about cutting back on your food intake.
- You will stop your snacking because when you write those snacks down you will realize what you need to cut out of your diet and their fat content, the calories you consuming, and the grams of sugar.
- Tracking the food you consume will force you to take total responsibility for your food choices. It will shows you what you are really eating and the bad habits you need to stop.
- An accurate food journal helps you see eating patterns, giving you insight into when and why we eat.
- The journal will reveal when you are eating, what you are eating, and the bad foods you are eating.
You want to write in your journal everyday and include everything you eat.
If you’re beginning a program to change your habits, you may want to start with a baseline food journal that keeps track of a “typical” week of food choices and exercise. This way, you’ll have a better handle on what you need to work on– problem times or situations, circumstances that make it difficult to eat healthy, and so on. The level of detail you record depends on your goals, but some possible things to jot down include:
Keeping a food journal may make you feel uncomfortable because doing so forces you to remember those things we’d rather not take note of—that chocolate cake you had for lunch, or that extra mound of mashed potatoes you regret eating. In other words: no pain, no gain. When you see the foods you have consumed in black-and-white, you can start to make changes in your eating habits.