Did you know that writing down what you eat is arguably one of the most effective tools for reaching your health goals?
A large Kaiser Permanente study (1,700 participants) published in August 2008 found that those participants who kept food journals daily lost twice as much weight as those who did not keep any record of their food intake.
Let’s broaden this to include those who are not only looking to lose weight, but those who are looking to maintain weight or eat more healthfully regardless of weight. Just the process of reflecting on what we eat helps to increase our awareness and leads to opportunity for better choices.
I know you might be cringing at the thought of keeping a food journal, but don’t let it intimidate you! It doesn’t have to be a formal record or take a lot of time.
Here are some simple ways to keep a journal:
- Keep a journal or notebook handy (at your desk or in your kitchen) – consider making it fun with a colored pen and attractive notebook.
- Write down what you eat on a sticky note (as you are eating or just afterward is ideal).
- Send yourself a text message or e-mail of what you ate.
Important note: Please use curiosity instead of criticism when reviewing your journals or logs! Being critical of yourself will only set you up for feeling ashamed or guilty – you don’t usually make positive self-care choices when you feel badly about yourself.
Instead, being curious about your food choices will allow you to understand what you were feeling or thinking in the moment, and this arms you with the awareness to make a more positive choice the next time you eat!
I challenge you to experiment by keeping a food journal in any format over the next 3 days! See what new insights you gain.