Can Food Journaling Really Help You Lose Weight?
Q: Can food journaling really help me lose weight? I despise it and never seem to stick with it.
A: You know I hate to be the bearer of bad news. Of any kind. But, this bad news (for all of you despisers out there) isn’t too bad. You may even turn into food journaling lovers by the end of this blog.
Food journaling can be your weight loss secret weapon for a whole lotta reasons, and it’s been around since, well, forever, for good reason: it works.
So just like you may not love flossing routinely, you do it because it’s good for you and you want a pretty smile too.
Need more specific reasons than that to break out a new food diary? Here ya go.
3 Reasons Why Food Journaling Can Help You Lose Weight
Accountability.Whether it’s a drill sergeant friend, your nutritionist or simply your sturdy Ticonderoga pencil keeping tabs on what goes in your mouth, accountability works.
Food journaling is definitely one way to be accountable either to yourself or to whoever is reading them.
One study showed that keeping a food journal doubled a person’s weight loss. It found that the best predictors of weight loss were 1) how frequently food diaries were kept and 2) how many support sessions the participants attended.
Those who kept daily food records lost twice as much weight as those who kept no records at all.
Another study showed that the more food journals people kept, the more weight people lost.
So basically those that maintained focus, diligence, and consistency with journaling were rewarded with fitting into smaller pants.
Also, if you’re working with a dietitian or health coach, you’ll get a lot more out of that partnership if you’re sharing all your food deets. The good, the bad and the in between. Putting it all out there will help your nutrition guru help you.
Food journaling can be kinda like getting a new gym membership and a fresh pair of kicks…you’re all excited to use them for the first few weeks, but when the novelty wears off, often so does your motivation and consistency.
You gotta find a way to get comfy in your new kicks, even after they’re not new anymore, and realize that the more they get broken in, the better you might look in your LuLus.
Honesty. Always a good thing, right? Food journaling keeps you honest – even if it’s just with yourself.
When I ask clients about a typical a day of eating, I often get this for an answer:
“I eat really well, not sure why I’m not losing. I eat a couple eggs for breakfast with a slice of whole grain toast, a kale salad, usually a few nuts for a snack and pretty balanced dinner of some kind of protein and usually a little rice or potato and a salad.”
When I have them write down every detail, and I mean every detail, it goes something like this:
“Two eggs prepared with butter and a drop of cheese. Slice of toast and two bites of my son’s waffle. Kale salad with dressing and parmesan cheese (I usually skip the cheese though), croutons and chicken. Three handfuls of nuts, diet soda and three bites of my daughters chocolate chip cookie (it was her friend’s birthday)…”
You get where this is going.
It’s easy to think you eat super clean but until you really hammer it out on paper, you often unintentionally don’t even realize just how much (or in some cases how little) you’re eating.
Honesty and food journaling is always the best policy. Besides, your waistline is terrible at keeping secrets.
Growth.Growth in all areas of life is always good idea. When it comes to weight loss, health, and food journaling, food journaling can be a wise sage that guides us in a new right direction.
Food journaling allows us to reflect and analyze. What worked? What didn’t work? And, finally, how can I improve what I’m eating or the behaviors and habits I’m exhausting?
There will come a day when you’ve nailed your diet and you don’t have to spend time food journaling anymore. That’s the ultimate goal, right?
But there also may come a day when you need to go back to basics and clean things up again, and food journaling is the first thing you should turn to.
It’ll be like riding a bicycle. It’ll feel familiar and easy even if it’s been a long time, and you’ll quickly remember how great it feels to have that wind in your hair…in a smaller pair of shorts.