Food Journaling & How it Can Help You Achieve Your Weight Loss Goals
Starting your weight loss journey can feel overwhelming, particularly when there are an endless number of tips and tricks floating around—most of which won’t work without a real plan. But don’t lose hope! A great place to start for many people is food journaling.
Mind, Body, Green recently highlighted the benefits of being mindful of what you eat, and we wanted to share their findings with you.
Studies show food journaling just works
In addition to an adequate amount of exercise, what, when, how, and why you eat is crucial to weight loss—and one of the best ways to become aware of your habits and improve them is to write them down. According to a study published by the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, participants who kept a detailed diary of what they ate every day doubled their weight loss compared to those who did not.
Another study, completed by the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, showed that women who journaled their dietary habits lost 13% of their body weight, while those who skipped journaling lost 8%.
We have also found that our weight loss surgery patients benefit from food journaling as well, as having a visual diagram of what you’re putting into your body can help you make changes.
Convinced? Here are some tips for getting started:
1. Write it down (all of it)
So, you’ve decided to start a food journal; congrats! A great way to keep up the habit is to keep your log with you. There are apps you can install on your phone—such as See How You Eat or My Food Diary—or you can keep a pocket-sized notebook with you. Make sure you transcribe your intake right before or as soon as you eat, as you’ll be more likely to remember the details. It’s also important to note the time of day so you’ll be prepared for cravings before they happen.
Remember, it’s crucial to be honest. If you’re in denial about that side order of fries, it’ll be difficult to notice “problem areas” over time and make choices about what you want to change. Remember that no one is grading your food journal, and the whole point is to see improvement from where you started. Being honest from the beginning means you surely will!
2. Note the trends and adjust accordingly
A food journal can help you become mindful of habits like emotional eating or snacking out of boredom. By noticing the food you are indulging in, you begin to catch yourself before making the same mistakes that are hindering your weight loss. For instance, you might redirect yourself to a calming cup of fragrant tea after a stressful meeting instead of snacking. And if you find you regularly crave snacks at a certain hour, you can be prepared with healthier (yet satisfying) substitutes.
Another factor to note in your journal is how a given meal made you feel afterward; did it make you feel tired or bloated? Or more vibrant? Seeing a record of which foods made you feel more healthy, fulfilled, and energetic is a great reminder to choose them again.
3. Read the full article to get more tips
Check out the full article here for more information and additional suggestions for becoming a master food-journaler.
If you feel like you need a little extra help to get where you want to be, contact us today. We would be happy to help you explore your options and determine what will work for you.