You’ve done your research, figured out which foods you should be eating, and maybe even signed up for the SlimGenics Program to get your one-on-one support and education from our Program Advisors! You’re ready to achieve your ideal weight, but there is one very important tool that is often neglected and under appreciated…the food journal.
Recent studies suggest that regularly writing down everything we consume in a food journal can help us lose double the weight!
A study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics followed overweight-to-obese women for 12 months, and instructed them to write down their food intake in a food journal, and found that those who maintained their food journal saw a greater percent of weight loss. Another study, which followed 1877 adults, 330 school age children, and 1178 adolescents suggests that people may not know just how bad their food really is – underestimating caloric content by as much as 259 calories per meal! In this ongoing research project, The National Weight Control Registry which is tracking more than 6,000 people who have lost an average of 66 pounds and have kept it off for 5 years, found that keeping a food journal is the one strategy used by the majority of successful dieters. Yes, it takes time to fill out a food journal, but it can be vital for self-assessment and monitoring.
Why keep a food journal?
- Are you eating more when you’re stressed or bored? Writing down what you eat, when you eat it, and how you’re feeling at the time can highlight these eating patterns help eliminate any negative patterns.
- Do you ever grab a handful of a snack and forget that you ate it? Keeping an accurate food journal helps us track the food we consume, forces us to take responsibility for our food choices, and It shows what we’re really eating.
- Monitoring what we eat helps us stay on-plan, so we can make adjustments.
- Keeping a food journal during challenging and stressful times is especially useful. When you’re stressed, the last thing you want to think about is keeping track of your food intake. Just jot it down after every meal, and you’ll stay on-track towards success!
- When you have a “cheat meal”, or go off-plan, although you may feel guilty, this is the best time to stick with your food journal. It helps to asses why you ate those off-plan foods. Was it cravings? Were you out with friends and didn’t want to deal with ordering on-plan? Keeping a food journal can help you make a plan for the next time those cravings hit.
What to include in your food journal:
- When and where you eat. Be sure to include the time of day, how long you were eating, if you ate in a fast-food restaurant or the company cafeteria, etc.
- Who you were with, and any other activity you were involved in while you ate. Were you reading or watching TV, or having brunch with your best friend?
- Your mood while eating. Were you bored, frustrated, happy? This can help to highlight emotional eating habits – eating triggered by mood, not hunger.
- Any exercise you did during the day: Be sure to include the activity, length and intensity, and whether it was before or after eating.
- The amount of water and other beverages you consume every day.
- Any special categories for which you want to monitor consumption, such as carbohydrates, fat or fiber content.
Start your food journal today to double your weight loss and get to your goal faster and easier! For an even more targeted and individualized approach, head in to a SlimGenics Center today to chat with a Program Advisor about how you can get to a healthy weight.