July 16, 2012 at 10:24 pm
by Irina Gonzalez
I’ve really had weight loss on the mind lately. Not that I’m not frequently thinking about my own weight loss, helping others lose weight own weight with this column or even just how to keep it all off in the end, but after quite a few weekends away (weddings! family vacations!) and, of course, the increase of summertime BBQ and outdoor grilling parties (which frequently means lots of food–and not all of it so healthy), I could stand to lose a few pounds right now. And that’s why I was SO happy to learn that the secret to losing them couldn’t possibly be simpler.
So what does it take to lose about 6 pounds? According to a new study by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, all it takes is literally just keeping a food journal.
Now, I know what you’re going to say: oh, this is old news, I’ve heard how good keeping a dieting diary is for losing weight. Yes yes, I’ve heard it before, too, but the surprising thing about their research is that it didn’t consider people who are actively losing weight and writing down what they eat. Rather, the new study found that simply the act of keeping a food diary helped overweight, inactive (as in: no exercise) women lose about 6 pounds more than women who didn’t jot down their daily food intake.
So what’s the key to keeping a good food journal and reaping all of these benefits? Writing everything down AS you eat it (instead of later), jotting down how hungry and good you feel before and after, and being 100% honest with yourself about what you’re eating–that means writing down that extra half cupcake you (maybe somewhat guiltily) had in the middle of the day. Write it ALL down and don’t lie about it.
It’s surprising how much just keeping track of your foods can help you, but I suspect that it has a little bit to do with the fact that you’re being vigilant with yourself and possibly making a bit of an extra effort to have that salad for lunch instead of the high-calorie sandwich you were eyeing also.
I, for one, am going to be running out immediately tomorrow morning to buy my own pretty notebook for a food diary because, yes, I think it will help me tremendously. Won’t you?
Do you write down what you eat at every meal? Will you now that you’ve heard how good it is? Share with us in the comments below!