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 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. 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 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..
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 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.. 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!