Yesterday, I had no sooner posted about journaling for health, when an email from eDiets arrived that was just too enticing: Double your weight loss.
And how do you do that: By writing down everything you eat. There seems to be a theme going on here. Yesterday, it was all about the American Heart Association’s Better U program, which encourages journaling to get healthier.
Now, there is a recently released study – what eDiets terms the largest and longest-running weight-loss trial – that proves the secret to doubling your weight loss is journaling.
eDiets quoted the study’s lead author Jack Hollis, PhD: “The more food records people kept, the more weight they lost. Those who kept daily food records lost twice as much weight as those who kept no records. It seems that the simple act of writing down what you eat encourages people to consume fewer calories.”
When you write everything you down, it forces you to see where your calories are coming from. It gets you thinking about what you eat, and that leads to accountability. But you have to be honest: Every piece of candy or cookie that passes your lips gets noted.
I’ve never liked journaling. But I started religiously journaling on August 1, and I have to admit it has made me make better food choices. I am my worst critic, so if I have to admit I ate a piece of cheesecake – even if I admit it to myself – it hurts. I would rather pass it up than have to write it down.
OK – I admit it’s a tad weird, but it’s the way my mind works.
“Journaling your food intake isn’t just about what you eat but also how much you eat,” Registered Dietitian Nicole Bengtson told eDiets. “You may not realize that the bag of chips you just ate had two servings in it, meaning what you thought was 140 calories was actually 280 calories.”
And one more tip: Don’t wait to the end of the day to journal your foods because you will forget. As soon as a food is consumed, add it to your list. If possible, write the time of day and your mood, which can help you ID when and why you lose control.
Can it really be this easy?