Thursday, October 13, 2016

5 Reasons Why Keeping a Food Journal Will Help You Lose Weight

Knowing something is a useful tool for losing weight and actually using that tool are two different things.  We have all heard that keeping a food journal is helpful for weight loss, but we just don’t want to take the time and effort to do it.  Also, we don’t see any point in writing down what we eat.  We tell ourselves, “I know what I’m eating!  What’s the point of a food journal?”  Here are 5 reasons why keeping a food journal will help you lose weight. 

#1: Keeping a food journal keeps you stay honest
(Only when you keep an honest journal!)

When you write down everything you are eating, you won’t get to the end of the day and think to yourself “I’ve been eating healthy” when you actually have been eating a lot of junk.  For example, it will show you that you ate 50 M&M’s and not just the 5 or 6 that you remember at the end of the day.

#2: Journaling Protects You
There will be some things you won’t eat because you do not want to write it down.  It sounds silly but it is true.  If we know we will have to write down that we ate 3 pieces of cake, it can actually keep us from eating the cake!  This is especially effective if you know that someone else is going to be looking at your journal.

#3: Journaling Exposes Patterns
Journaling helps you to see patterns and situations when you tend to eat bad food or go on a food binge.  You might see that every time you have a weekly meeting at work, you go for the doughnuts that some kind soul decided helps make these stressful meetings a little more bearable.  You will know what makes you stress eat and situations where junk food will be available and work out strategies to be prepared for them or avoid them.

#4: Journaling Helps You See Gaps in Your Nutrition
Journaling shows you if you are missing some key nutrients.  You may see that some days you are not eating enough protein or maybe not including enough vegetables.  It can also help you track if you are drinking enough water. You can also start to make the connection between missing nutrients and binge eating later in the evening.  Believe it or not, some people find out through journaling that they are actually not eating enough and are causing a starvation response in their body!  (I promise I am not making this up.  I have seen it happen.)

#5: Journaling Shows You the Link Between Success and Failure
Journaling helps you to link your food with your weight loss successes and failures.  You can look at a week where you hit your target weight loss goals and see what you ate to make that work.  Also, you can see patterns that happen in weeks when you gained weight and avoid those patterns.  For example, you might realize that when you eat dinner after 8 pm several times in one week, you tend to gain weight no matter how healthy the meal was.  (This is one I realized through journaling.)

Now that you understand that keeping a food journal is not just for punishing yourself when you get off track but can be a useful weapon in your weight loss arsenal, it is time to start journaling!  Let us know about your weight loss success and how keeping a food journal has helped and motivated you on your weight loss journey.  Happy journaling!

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