Friday, June 15, 2012

Journal it! A to Z Weight-Loss Tips for Long-Term Success - Tip J

Journal It! 
Research shows that a significant predictor of successful weight-loss is utilizing a food journal or food log (Hollis, et al., 2008). Most people grossly underestimate portion sizes and calories eaten when they do not measure or record their food intake. These researchers found that the more detailed food records that were kept by study participants, the more weight they lost. Plus, they were able to keep the weight off as long as they continued to record in their journals. The National Weight Control Registry reported that keeping a food journal is the one strategy used by the majority of successful weight-loss participants

Many people think they have a good idea of how many calories they eat, but most of us only consider or recall the main meals. However, if you think about it and write it down in a food journal, you’ll discover those “oh yeah” moments:
  • “Oh yeah, I had that package of peanut butter crackers from the vending machine at work this morning.” (220 calories)
  • “Oh yeah, my co-worker and I were feeling really tired this afternoon, so we made a Starbucks run and I had a Venti latte.” (240 calories)
  • "Oh yeah, I remember when I went to see Sally in accounting she had some M and M’s on her desk so I had a couple handfuls while we were talking.” (100 calories)”
  • “Oh yeah, I sampled a piece of garlic bread when I was making dinner, and I had another piece while doing the dishes after dinner." (120 calories). 

Once they are counted in a food journal, those “oh yeah” moments can really add up; potentially leading to the frustration of no weight loss. 

Writing down your food intake in a food journal throughout the day can help you become more mindful of what and when you are eating and avoid the mindless snacking. A food journal can help you make wiser food choices too. 

If you knew you had to "Journal It":
  • You may choose a lower-calorie option from the vending machine or bring a healthier snack from home for the mid-morning munchies. This could save you 100 calories. 
  • You many choose a different drink at Starbucks, perhaps a regular coffee with cream. This could save you 200 calories.
  • You may choose to have only a few M and M’s at Sally’s desk instead of 2 handfuls. This could save you 80 calories.
  • You may avoid the extra piece of garlic bread after dinner, especially since you are already full, saving you 60 calories.

So, try the food journal today! To make it easier and more fun, use a free or inexpensive online food journal. Apps for smart phones and tablets are also available that track calories and your weight for you. Here is a review of some popular weight-management apps, reviewed by the nutrition experts, Registered Dietitians! 

Journal It!  You may be surprised at where those extra calories are sneaking in to your daily routine.