Hey Angels and Alphas,
Whether you’re someone already on a weight loss journey or you’re someone just making their first steps toward one, you should know one thing: research shows that tracking what you eat and journaling about your journey is one of the most effective tools you have at your disposal for making faster, more consistent progress.
In one study of over 1,700 overweight individuals that participated in a weight-loss program, the people who journaled about their progress lost twice as much weight as the people who didn’t record what they were eating.
Other studies that have followed people over shorter periods of time have discovered the same: keeping a food diary was a strategy that lets people hold themselves accountable when they’re on their journey. It also gives people valuable insights into how much they’re consuming and what eating patterns they’ve created.
But here’s why food diaries are really so effective when it comes to weight loss.
They hold you accountable. Unless you’re writing things down, you’re likely not managing your intake as well as you could. When you’re counting the calories for the day, you’re very likely to forget about the spoonful of nut butter you chugged down or the bite of your kid’s mac and cheese at lunch. Small things like that add up and a lot of us are mindlessly eating throughout the day – journaling helps us bring awareness into this unhealthy habit. And this is true regardless of whether or not you decide to incorporate counting calories into your journal or not.
The overall conclusion of a variety of studies is that people make healthier choices when they’re writing down everything they eat. Tracking their intake allows them to think twice about having that extra snack.
It also allows you to recognize trends. If you always take a bite of your kids’ food so you can encourage them to finish their meals, or if you always get a sugar craving around 4 p.m., these are all clear patterns you need to be aware of because they will end up creeping up hidden calories into your diet.
While they may seem insignificant, little bites here and there will make a huge impact in the long term. When you write down every bite you consume, you will start discovering new habits you never even knew you had.
So how do we journal effectively for weight loss?
To keep a productive food journal, you can either use a pen and paper or use an app to record everything you eat and drink throughout the day.
That being said, there are still a few tips you should know about making the most out of your journal:
#1 LOG INSTANTLY!
As soon as you eat something, log it. Don’t wait until the end of the day because you’re killing the whole point and you’re more likely to forget something. Plus, doing it at the end of the day means you’ll likely underestimate your portions. So log your portions after – or even before – you even consume them.
#2 DON’T FORGET THE EXTRAS.
If you want your food journal to be accurate, it’s vital that you pay attention to all the extras you might not think you’re including – the cream in your coffee, the dressing on your salad, the butter on your toast, etc.
These extras will make up for a lot of the calories you consume so never forget to include them and make sure you add tweaks into your diet, such as making your own homemade salad dressing or drinking your coffee black.
#3 LOG YOUR MOOD!
If you write down your mood before and after a meal, you’ll recognize some pretty interesting patterns. You might be one of those people that eats when they’re bored, tired, or stressed. Emotional eating is a big factor that prevents people from losing weight successfully. But logging can help you identify your cues and stop them right in their tracks.
The bottom line is…
It may seem kind of obsessive to log everything you eat, but once you get into the habit of doing it, it becomes so much faster and easier. And it’s without a doubt one of the best habits you can have when it comes to weight management and overall health. Armed with more information about your diet, you will find it easier to adopt healthier habits and achieve the results you’re looking for much, much faster.