For my nutrition class this semester, one of our assignments was to record what we ate and drank for 2 days. One day was a week day and one was a weekend day. There is more to it than just what we ate though – my professor had us write down what we ate, when we ate it, who we were with, how hungry we were, where we were, time we spent eating, and what we did while eating. Pretty detailed, right? I thought so.
I wasn’t too excited to have to think that much while eating. Really. But after I started doing it, I really enjoyed it. I found that it was incredibly enlightening to write down my degree of hunger, what I did while eating and who was with me. Those three things, among others, effect what and how we eat SO MUCH.
In a recent study they found that “people who kept daily food diaries lost twice as much weight or more as those who didn’t keep a tally of their meals.”
Nearly 1,700 Kaiser Permanente study participants agreed to exercise and adopt a healthy diet, but those who took the extra step of keeping track of what they consumed got something of a booster charge in their weight loss.
Overall, two-thirds of the study subjects lost nine pounds or more during the six-month study. But those who kept a food diary every day of the week dropped up to 20 pounds, more than twice as much as those who didn't record their every bite.
I don’t think it is necessary to write down everything you eat for the rest of your life in order to lose weight and maintain it. But maybe you’ve been trying to lose weight, exercise and eating well, yet pounds aren’t dropping…writing things down might be a huge benefit. It is usually the snacking and the little additions to meals during the day that add up, yet we forget about them.
There are lots of options for food diaries. Online food journals are becoming very popular. Here are a few free ones online that you can set up a profile, enter what you eat and how much you exercise and see what the outcome is:
There are also a variety of options to print out and use at home. I can even e-mail you the one I used for my class. Or, a simple pen and paper work just fine! I would encourage you to write down degree of hunger and time of day with what you eat, at least for several days.
~Do you track what you eat? What way works best for you?