What if I told you that the one thing holding you back from reaching your fitness goals quicker is your lack of information on your dieting?
You see, people tend to be hardwired to be very bad at critically analyzing our own habits. Think about it, has there been a time where you were called out on something you do and have no idea that you were doing that?
Oh and let’s not forget when we’re called out on something we love to play denial games to keep our pride, but deep down we know the truth.
Well, I have news for you…
You and I and everyone else tend to not be able to accurately recall some important information when we analyze ourselves from past actions. Figuring our diet out is no different.
Now, we’re not intentionally doing this and it isn’t our fault. It is just how our brain works. You see, when we don’t recall information on a regular basis small details tend to be lost. Now our brain is really good at filling in the blanks on partial memories which is where the information becomes fuzzy and inaccurate.
A perfect example of this is if you try to remember what the weather was like on your first date with your significant other or the exact outfit you were wearing that day. Another more recent example would be to try and remember what you ate a week ago.
It is hard to recall that information, right?
Well, that’s where a food journal comes into play. By writing down what you eat after you eat it you’ll preserve the most accurate information on your dieting habits. This means you’ll have all the accurate information about your diet at your fingertips to be able to see if you’re really sticking to your diet.
Now, if the idea of carrying a small journal annoys you, then you’ll be happy to know that you don’t need to do that. There are many smartphone apps out there that are excellent resources to keep track of your eating habits. I personally use My Fitness Pal to track my macros throughout the day.
What the Heck Goes Into a Food Journal?
A food journal is only as good as the information that you put into it. Every good food journal needs to have the basics in place if you want it to be useful. Some of the basics include:
- Record Everything – Don’t just jot down food. Include what you drink too. Even water! You can see if you’re staying hydrated enough throughout the day. Don’t forget that many drinks have a lot of calories that can destroy your diet if you’re not careful.
- Portion Size – You should record how much you ate/drink. You don’t have to be precise, but give a visual estimation. Portion sizing is one of the biggest causes to obesity and you want to make sure you overcome it.
- Emotions – Record how you felt when you eat. A majority of people who are overweight eat when they feel a certain way as a way to fill in a need they’re missing. People don’t even realize they do it either. Recording your emotions while eating can help you figure out if there’s a pattern.
- Be Honest – A food journal is your own private food diary. You need to be honest with what you put in it. By omitting things or putting in half-truths you’ll only be hurting yourself. If you aren’t honest with what goes into your journal then I suggest you stop reading and don’t attempt it as you’ll be wasting your time.
I’m Just Not Seeing the Real Benefits that A Food Journal Provides
What if I told you that you can double your weight loss results just by keeping track of your dieting through a food journal?
No I am not pulling an arbitrary number. A recent study published by the American Journal of Preventative Medicine had gathered 1,685 overweight or obese participants who were 25 year old or older.
For six months the participants kept a food journal. They were encourage to eat a healthy diet and exercise. The met weekly to discuss their food diaries and learn useful skills for weight loss such as portion control.
After six months the participants on average had lost 13 pounds. It was determined the biggest factor for the amount of weight lost was how many days they wrote in their food journal. Participants that wrote in their journal six days a week lost twice as much weight as those who wrote in their journal once a week.
The Bottom Line
If you’re struggling with losing weight no matter how hard you try then maybe your diet isn’t as healthy as you thought it was. I recommend beginners and people who have struggled to lose the weight and keep it off start recording their eating and drinking habits.
Whether you go old fashion and write it down in a notebook with a pen or download an app on your smartphone and record it that way, the results are the same. As long as you cover the basics outlined above you should start to see the real benefits a food journal can provide.
What are your thoughts on a food journal? Has it worked for you?