Study of nearly 1,700 participants shows that keeping a food diary can double a person’s weight loss. The study found that the best predictors of weight loss were how frequently food diaries were kept and how many support sessions the participants attended. Those who kept daily food records lost twice as much weight as those who kept no records.
After 7+ years of personal training and nutrition guidance, this is by far perhaps one of, if not the most important things you can do to achieve your weight loss goals. Or even weight gain goals if that’s what you’re trying to do. Either way, keeping a journal of ANY kind and being conscious of everything you ingest changes the game and makes you much more likely to win!
I can say from experience, those clients who track their food(completely and honestly) see the best results. We are beyond terrible at estimating our own daily food intake. This is an article that has compiled several studies regarding our ability to estimate portions.
The clients who don’t track what they eat usually see sub par, if any kind of results. Sure there are a few anomalies who don’t fall into the larger majority but for the most part I have found this to be true.
Outside of what the studies say, there are a few other reasons why tracking your food is so important…
• It keeps you accountable to you. Nothing is more sobering and eye opening than reading your own hand writing and seeing that you ate fast food 4 times this week, or had chocolate for desert after EVERY dinner(despite telling yourself it was only ‘a couple’ of times).
• It keeps you accountable to me, your trainer. Having someone else read that you had fast food 4 times or having cookies for snacks will make you think REAL hard about eating those things every time. This can help lead to the discovery of potential habit eating which is something many people suffer from without ever knowing it or realizing it.
• It forces you to learn and try new things. We all have bad habits or things we could improve on. If all you’re used to is eating fast food, or having microwave dinners then you’re going to be forced to find new places to eat, or learn new meals to cook for yourself. (hint:ask your trainer for help! It’s one of the reasons you pay them money)
There are other reasons tracking your food is important, but the bottom line and overall message here is…WRITE DOWN WHAT YOU EAT!
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