Of all the things I tell a new client trying to lose weight, the one directive that elicits the most groans, besides the directive to exercise, is: "You need to start keeping a food journal." This is groan-worthy because keeping a food journal is the equivalent of Adult Homework. Not only do you have to keep track of something you should just be able to do naturally, but you have to confront all the things you'd rather not think about - That leftover Halloween candy you had at the office, for example, or the fact that you 'helped' your child clean his plate of leftover macaroni and cheese.
However, it's just that accountability that makes it so crucial if you're trying to lose weight and, of course, there are studies to prove it. One study, published back in 2008 in the Journal of Preventive Medicine, suggested people who keep a food diary lose twice as much weight as those who don't. Another more recent study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, found much the same thing, adding that women who eat regularly and avoid eating out also lose more weight.
Keeping a food journal can be as simple as scrawling what you've eaten after each meal on a napkin or going more modern and using an app on your smartphone. Either way, knowing you have to write things down makes you think twice about what you're about to eat. It's often that automatic eating that gets us in the end.
So, what about you? Do you keep a food journal and, if so, does that help you manage your weight? Do you find it hard to keep a food journal consistently? Leave a comment and tell us about your experiences with keeping a food journal.