Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Weight Loss Wednesday - Why You Should Keep a Food Journal

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Are you struggling with your weight loss? You seem to be eating the things you should, but the scale isn't moving... maybe you're eating more than you think! The most effective way to know exactly what you're eating is to keep a Food Journal. Essentially, a Food Journal is a log of everything that goes into your mouth on a given day. It could be expanded to include feelings (how did you feel when you reached for the twinkie... and just as importantly... how you felt after you ate it). It would also be great if a Food Journal expanded into a Weight Loss Journal that could encompass what exercise you did on any given day and any other details you might want to add. Transferring all of these facts from your brain onto a tangible piece of paper can help in many ways.

  • It can help you keep an accurate count of calories, carbs, sodium, etc. Just because you "forgot" about that ice cream cone at lunch, doesn't mean you didn't eat it - those calories still count.
  • It can help to make sure you're getting an adequate amount of fruits and veggies - 5 a day is recommended, but if you aim for 8-10 by replacing other foods with fruits and veggies, you'll surely be aiding your weight loss efforts.
  • It can help you make sure you're getting enough water in daily.
  • It can help you determine if you're eating because you're hungry or because you're bored, angry, etc.
  • It can help you to stay motivated by providing the positive reinforcement that the scale doesn't always provide.
  • It can help you to stay focused on the most important goal: Eating Healthy. If you have a healthy, nutritious diet, the weight will come off as a result.
  • It can help you be accountable for what you're actually eating.
  • It can help you make sure you're getting in enough physical activity.

Putting everything down on paper will make your eating, drinking, exercise and emotional patterns much easier to analyze. Being able to make sense of all the components necessary for effective weight loss with help you to make any necessary adjustment that will get you headed on the road to success!

There are tons of online food / weight loss diaries out there, but I've found two that might be helpful. FitDay is a totally free online weight loss journal that comes highly recommended by Leanne Ely of Saving Diner. A new and unusual option is Tweet What You Eat - it's a Twitter-based food diary. Use Twitter to track what you eat by ‘tweeting’ food items to your personal food diary on from your mobile phone, IM or through Twitter. Although you can do it under a "screen name" it's still viewable by anyone who visits Tweet What You Eat - which would be a perfect way to be anonymous, yet accountable to someone other than yourself.

Happy Journaling!

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