Want a fitness industry secret for quick and easy weight loss?
In fact, this simple trick is scientifically proven to double your results.
For six months, 1,685 people just like you kept food diaries and were advised to exercise and eat a healthy diet.
By the end of the study, the participants had lost an average of 13 pounds.
Not a shocking amount, but what was surprising was this …
People who tracked six days a week lost twice as much weight as those who kept food records one day a week or less.
Why Food Diaries Work
“I think the most powerful part is accountability and the next most powerful part is increasing awareness of where those extra calories are coming from,” says Victor Stevens, PhD, who led the study.
A food diary makes you accountable to yourself but it becomes even more powerful when you enlist support from a friend, physician, nutritionist, or trainer. More on that later.
In the words of Dr. Brian Wansink, author of Mindless Eating:
“Most of us don’t overeat because we’re hungry. We overeat because of family and friends, packages and plates, names and numbers, labels and lights, colors and candles, shapes and smells, distractions and distances, cupboards and containers.”
Your food journal will help you become more aware of exactly what you’re eating which easily leads to better decisions.
Food and Feelings
A food journal also gives you the chance to connect what you eat to how you feel.
Most people make the mistake of eating according to some “standard” (such as, breakfast=cereal, lunch=sandwich, dinner=meat) without paying attention to how those foods make them feel an hour or two later.
Tracking may help you realize certain foods make you feel more energized while others make you feel bloated or lethargic.
Bonus Insider Tip
Connecting your eating to your feelings may be all you need.
You see, we’re supposed to eat for the nutrients. When you feel lethargic after a meal, it can be a sign you’re not digesting that meal well.
Poor digestion means poor assimilation of nutrients. In turn, you have to eat even more food to get the nutrients your body wants.
Focus on eating foods that make you feel more energetic and your caloric intake (and weight) should go down naturally and painlessly.
Where and Who?
Obviously, a food journal can be as simple as tracking just the food (not even adding portion sizes would still be beneficial), but a thorough journal would include where you were and who was with you.
Studies show you’ll eat about
- 40 percent more food if you’re watching TV
- 35% more if you’re eating with a friend, and
- 96% more if you’re in a group of seven
5 Tips for Keeping a Food Journal
1. Write as you go.
“We recommend they write it down as soon as they can after they eat,” says Stevens. Better yet – plan what you’re going to eat, record that, then follow your plan.
2. Write it all.
Yep, that handful of goldfish counts, too. It all adds up. You’ll be surprised by how much you eat with little or no thought.
3. Get good with portion sizes.
When you’re eating at home, make a habit of using measuring cups and food scales. You’ll be better at tracking serving sizes when you’re away from home.
(Leave that to your parents. They’re good at it from lots of practice.
Just write it down. Later you can make a mental note of “supportive choice vs. non-supportive choice” and leave it at that. No psychoanalysis, please.
5. Use an App
If you have a smart phone, it’s easy to find an app to help you.
MyFitnessPal, for example, helps you track your not just your calories, but macronutrients (carbs, protein, and fat) and even micronutrients such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and calcium.
Once you get started with MyFitnessPal (it’s free), be sure to add us at “29againfitness” as a friend (also free). We’re always glad to help.