Will keeping a food diary help you lose weight? A food diary or food log is a written document of everything you eat each day – and many dieticians and nutritionists recommend that people who want to lose weight keep one. But is it really necessary?
Weight Loss Food Journals: Does Keeping a Food Journal Help Shed the Pounds?
A food log really can make it easier to lose weight. In one study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine that involved over 1,600 adults who needed to lose weight, the best predictor of whether they met their goals was whether they kept a food journal.
Why is keeping a food journal for weight loss effective? It all comes down to awareness of what you’re eating and how many calories you’re taking in. Most people underestimate calories, and not surprisingly, the healthier the food they believe they’re eating, the fewer calories they think it has. Those underestimations can really add up. A food log forces you to be objective about what you’re eating and how many calories it contains. It’s all about accountability.
A Simple Way to Keep a Better Food Journal for Weight Loss
Most people simply write down what they eat when they keep a food log. According to a study at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, adding photos of the food you eat increases the effectiveness of food journaling for weight loss. When you’re able to see a picture of what you just ate, it brings you face-to-face with your dietary choices and forces you to be more objective.
It’s also important to gauge portion size so you can accurately record how many calories you ate. There are websites that show you examples of what a serving looks like so you don’t have to weigh everything you eat.
If you don’t like the idea of keeping a written food journal for weight loss, keep one online. But be prompt about recording what you eat or you may not include everything. Keep in mind that every bite counts – even food samples at the grocery store.
You should also write down your motivation for eating each item. Was it a planned part of a meal – or did you eat out of boredom? This helps you gain control of mindless snacking.
The Bottom Line?
Keeping a food journal for weight loss gives you information about how much you’re eating, and why you’re eating it – and it really can help with weight loss. Give it a try.
Muscle and Fitness – Hers. January/February 2011. Page 81.
CBS. “Keeping Food Journal Helps Weight Loss”