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Keep a Food Diary
Americans spend almost $35 billion per year in the quest for the perfect body. But there's a simple, proven method of losing weight for free without any side effects: keeping a food journal.
Dear Diary – The Takeaway
Though it can take some time, tracking meals is worth the reward. One study suggests that when combined with a healthy diet and exercise plan, writing down what we eat can nearly double weight loss . That’s a whole lot of pounds for just a few written words! Recording what goes into our mouths gives us more awareness over our food choices, suggests another study, making it easier to adjust our diets accordingly .
So why is the pen mightier than, say, pills and procedures? For one, food journaling gives people a way to reevaluate eating habits. When combined with goal setting and group therapy sessions, food journaling emphasizes the importance of monitoring and modifying daily behavior . Don't have access to regular group therapy sessions? No problem. The technology gods have caught on. Free apps like DailyBurn or MyFitnessPal are readily available to help users keep tabs on what they’re eating and also provide personalized food and exercise tips.
And while it’s nice to have these conveniences in pocket, keeping a food journal need not require a complex algorithm— a simple notebook and pen will do just fine. Start small by recording dinner, then work up to a full day's intake. Try to make a habit of writing everything down each night before bedtime. Just don't be surprised how many packages of shark bites end up on there— be honest because that's the point!
Writing down what you eat can nearly double weight loss. So keep a food journal to help lose (and maintain) weight!
- Sustained self-regulation of energy intake. Loss of weight in overweight subjects. Maintenance of weight in normal-weight subjects. Ciampolini M, Lovell-Smith D Sifone M. Unit of Preventive Gastroenterology Florence, Italy. Nutrition and Metabolism Jan 2010 19: 7:4⤴
- Weight Loss during the Intensive Intervention Phase of the Weight-Loss Maintenance Trial. Hollis JF, Guillion CM, Stevent, VJ, et al. Center for Health Research, Portland, OR. American Journal of Preventive Magazine, 2008; 35(2): 118-126.⤴
- Weight Loss during the Intensive Intervention Phase of the Weight-Loss Maintenance Trial.Hollis JF, Guillion CM, Stevent, VJ, et al. Center for Health Research, Portland, OR. American Journal of Preventive Magazine, 2008; 35(2): 118-126.⤴
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Food diaries, when I've kept them in the past have been extraordinarily helpful, not just to analyze what crappy food to get rid of when I've had bad days but also to inspire myself to keep up good eating habits when I'm on a roll. I've also found it helpful to write how a food made me feel after eating it. (So next time I want that second slice of pizza, I can remember how much I regretted it last time.) Good article! You've inspired me to get back on the food journaling bandwagon :)
Great advice, I have been battling weight for some time and began keeping a food diary with my esymated calorie count. I have dropped from 220 to 190 since starting to keep a record early last fall.
You really have to just sit down and do it. I bought a small spiral bound notebook for the purpose and kept it on the kitchen table with a pencil as a reminder. Each day I totaled my calories as I was trying to maintain an 1,800-2,000 intake.
It was really easy and after a while it just became a part of my meal time routine.
Now, I know that I'm a firm believer in the power of writing so I may be a little biased, but this method has really worked for me! At the start of this month I started keeping a food journal in addition to my usual workout routine and it has helped tremendousy...just having the knowledge that later that night I'm going to have to face what I eat has provided a wonderful aid as to deciding if it's really worthwhille to eat.
This sounds like a great idea....I think I'm going to start a food diary...I'm going to try to get my kids to start one too!!!
Very timely information...so good
I accidently cut a few lbs by keeping a food diary! I was just curious how healthy I had been eating and next thing I know, I was down 10 lbs. It was unintentional, but kept me very conscious of what I was putting into my body. It all happend in a little over a month.
I'll give a little bit of that to my exercise routine as well. The 300 workout + #CrossFit! =)
Pen and paper are fine, but at TextCalories we're trying something new by using TEXT MESSAGING to log meals, exercise, and weight.
Why texting? Because your phone is almost always with you and it is platform agnostic. No smartphone needed and entering data is TOTALLY intutitive. We take the content of the messages, assign caloric value, and create a personal dashboard/log for you on our site.
Head over to www.textcalories.com if you want to know more. We're still under development, but plan to release a beta version early next year!
fitID is the best free app for this.