Food Journal for Healthy Weight Loss — Most people think that the key to losing weight and getting fit is eating right and working out. While these are two crucial elements, perhaps the third most critical component is writing. Studies continue to show that food journaling is an effective way to develop a better understanding of what you eat, to learn to make better choices, and to hold yourself accountable on your health and fitness journey. In other words, food journaling is an essential component to successful and healthy weight loss.
The idea is simple: If you bite it, you write it.
But why keep a food journal? Because journaling to lose weight works. Get this:
Keeping a daily food diary can double a person’s weight-loss, according to a study from Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Health Research. “Those who kept daily food records,” said author Jack Hollis Ph.D., “lost twice as much weight as those who kept no records. It seems that the simple act of writing down what you eat encourages people to consume fewer calories.”
“The process of reflecting on what you eat that helps us become aware of our habits, and hopefully change our behavior,” says Keith Bachman, MD, a Weight Management Initiative member. “Every day I hear patients say they can’t lose weight. This study shows that most people can lose weight if they have the right tools and support.”
Combined with healthy eating and moderate exercise, over 1,700 patients were able to lose an average of 13 pounds. Losing as little as five pounds can reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure by 20 percent.
Add journaling to your dieting regime and be healthier!” (Source: Penzu)
Healthy Weight Loss Food Journaling
Here’s a few other benefits to keeping a food journal that you might want to consider:
- It can help you lose weight faster than if you were not journaling your food intake. One of the main reasons that food journaling helps you lose weight is that it is a unique way to hold yourself accountable and to stay disciplined while focusing on diet and exercise. You will be less likely to grab that unhealthy snack from the office vending machine if you know that you have to record it in your permanent food journal.
- It can allow you to identify the triggers that lead you to make poor dietary choices. As you evaluate your food journal each day or each week, you may begin to notice patterns in the way that you eat. For example, if you always grab a candy bar after that late morning meeting with your boss, you may start to realize that you are snacking to cope with stress at work. Noticing these triggers gives you a chance to change your habits and rethink the way you eat.
- It may uncover a food intolerance that you weren’t aware of before. In your food journal, you may write down what you eat and how it makes you feel. By logging this information, you may discover that specific types of foods or certain ingredients do not agree with your system.
- It will help improve your portion control. Your food journal will allow you to better visualize how much food you are eating, and will allow you to adjust your portion sizes to achieve your weight loss goals.
Noting all of these benefits, you may feel like now is the best time to start your food journal.
Healthy Weight Loss Food Journaling Tips
Here are a few tips to help you get started on your healthy weight loss journaling adventures:
- Purchase a small notebook that you can carry with you and attach a pen to it. While there are likely many apps that can help you with food journaling, sometimes a basic notebook and pen is the best way to hold yourself accountable. Your notebook should be small enough that it can fit in a purse or even in your pocket.
- Write down everything that you eat throughout the day — even small snacks, such as candy or mints. Include the time of day that you eat in each log. The most important part of food journaling is to stay honest and to record everything that you consume. This is the only way that it will be effective.
- Add extra notes that might help you better understand your eating habits. Some people prefer to include their emotions, their hunger levels after eating, or the amount of time it took them to eat a meal. These additional notes allow you to take your food journal to the next level, giving you an opportunity to uncover the reasons behind your food choices throughout the day.
When you create a simple system for your food journal that is personalized to meet your own fitness goals, it will quickly become a part of your daily routine. This is a great opportunity for you to make yourself a priority. Begin food journaling for your health — you’ll be glad you did!
Until next time, journal on…
Jill Schoenberg, Journal Buddies award-winning author