Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Write it down

Want to double your weight loss? According to a recent study by Kaiser Permanente, it's as simple as keeping a food journal. Can this really be the key to losing weight.

My mom always told me that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. At first blush, keeping a food journal sounds so easy, too good to be true. But have you ever tried to keep a food journal? I have. Hundreds of times. Some weeks I am perfect, write everything down, and then one thing happens, and I stop keeping the journal. It's actually easier for me to fall off the journal wagon than to stick to a diet.

But this study was the largest and longest running weight-loss trial ever, which proved once and for all that recording what you eat throughout the day can double your weight loss efforts. The study was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine and found that the more detailed the records, the more weight participants lost -- twice as much weight as those who kept no records.

Just writing the foods down helps you consume fewer calories, with participants dropping an average of 13 pounds in six months. It seems that simply writing down everything you eat helps you consume fewer calories.

The 1,700 study participants were following the DASH diet, which is high in fruits and vegetables, attended weekly support groups and exercised at least 30 minutes a day. They also were asked to keep daily food journals. Although the average lost was 13 pounds, the majority of participants lost nine. I'll take that!

Study participants said the food diaries increased accountability and made them realize where their excess calories were coming from. Self awareness is such a powerful thing!

Now where did I put my food diary....

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