Keep a food log.
Dieters who write down everything they eat each day lose twice as much as those who don't, according to one of the largest weight loss studies ever conducted.
These findings were reported in the August 2008 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine:
Dieters who kept their food logs six or more days a week lost an average of about 18 pounds in 6 months, compared with about 9 pounds for those who didn't keep food journals.
Why does keeping a food journal work?
It makes you accountable for every lick, nibble and sip you take.
Most of us are completely unaware of what and how much we eat, but when we see it on paper in black and white, there's no disputing where extra calories are coming from.
I ask my clients to keep a 3 day food log before they come to see me for the first time. Despite my urging to not alter anything they eat, they inevitably do, because they are embarrassed to write down "bad foods." It's not uncommon for me to hear "I was walking through the kitchen and I wanted to grab a cookie, but I didn't because I didn't want to have to write it down."
Food diaries force an increase in awareness, can improve mindful eating, and help establish personal accountability. Even if you never show your food journal to a single soul, you'll most likely improve your eating habits and lose weight.
See my tips on food journaling.
When I review a food journal with a client, I'm not only looking at portions and calories, I'm looking for patterns. I can usually determine problematic cues, triggers and habits that may be contributing to excess weight. You can do the very same thing when reviewing your own food log!
Keeping food records can be as simple as jotting down everything you eat on a scrap piece of paper. But if you're like me and would likely forget where you put all those little scraps of paper, it's probably a good idea to get an official food log.
Feel free to check out the diet log I use with my clients...I developed it myself...there's even room to keep track of your exercise!
Diet Write Food and Fitness Journal is suitable for use with any diet or exercise plan and can be individualized as desired.
I designed Diet Write to help you keep track of any or all of the following: calories, fat grams, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, fluid, physical activity, sleep patterns and energy levels. Record as much or as little as you like.
If pen and paper isn't your style, there's good news. You can keep a food journal electronically:
There's no wrong way to keep a food log...
...except to not keep one at all.
Now get to it!
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