Food journaling can be a powerful tool in helping you lose weight. In fact, keeping a food diary can double a person’s weight loss according to a study from Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Health Research. Just the act of writing down what you eat can help you eat less. Why is this true? Well, when people write down what they eat, it really makes them think twice before indulging in additional snacks or desserts. If you don’t want to write down the 3 cookies you are thinking about eating, then you may decide not to eat those 3 cookies. By writing down what you eat, it makes you feel accountable for what you put in your mouth.
In addition, when you write down what you eat over the course of several days, you can identify problem areas. For example, you may find that you are snacking like crazy right before dinner. That probably means that you need a healthy mid-afternoon snack to keep you satisfied until dinner. You may identify stressful times of the day where you are struggling with emotional eating. With that information, you can come up with some alternative solutions for dealing with your stress. Keeping a journal can really be an eye-opener, which can lead you to make changes that address your specific problem areas.
A food journal can also help stop you from beating yourself up about something bad you ate. Too often when we give in to temptation and eat the wrong thing, we think all is lost and give up on our weight loss efforts. In other words, we may say to ourselves “Well, I’ve blown it! I might as well throw in the towel and keep on eating.” When you keep a food journal, it is much easier to see the BIG PICTURE and realize that you haven’t blown it. You had ONE day or ONE meal where you ate too much, but if you stay on track the rest of the week, you’ll be in fine shape. So, by keeping a food journal, you’ll have a more realistic picture of your progress and be more likely to stay the course.
A food journal can take many forms. It can be as simple as writing down what you eat in notebook or on a piece of paper. Or you can track it on your computer or phone. Counting calories (or points) can definitely be helpful, but just the act of writing down what you eat can help you eat less and make better choices in the future.