Telling my clients to keep a food diary causes some of the most vicious glares I've ever gotten as a trainer - right behind the looks I get for making them do pushups, lunges and burpees. I realize it's a pain to read labels, measure food, look up calories and try to figure out what and how much you're eating, but the upside is that you think twice about the mindless eating you may do when you're tired, depressed or bored.
If you want to lose weight but avoid keeping a food journal, you may be more motivated when you hear about a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. The study involved more than 1700 participants, all of whom were following an exercise program and a healthy diet. Some participants kept a food diary and some didn't. After 6 months, most participants lost an average of 9 lbs, but those who kept a food diary dropped up to 20 lbs, more than twice as much as the non-writer-downers.
That's a pretty major difference and proof that a food diary can help you:
- See where extra calories are coming from
- Pinpoint when you're eating because your bored or stressed
- Make you think more about your choices
- Learn more about the foods you eat on a regular basis and whether they're really healthy
I'd love to hear about your experiences. Do you keep a food diary? If so, how long have you kept it and what do you keep track of? Leave a comment and tell us what you think about keeping a food diary.
More About How to Keep a Food Diary
- How to Keep a Food Journal
- Food Diary Print-Out
- DietMinder Food Journal
- FitWatch Online Fitness and Food Tracker
- Calorie Count - Calorie Counter Database
Hollis, Jack F., et al. Weight Loss During the Intensive Intervention Phase of the Weight-Loss Maintenance Trial. Am J of Prev Med. Vol 35 (2), August 2008.