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Why Food Diaries Work

written by Head Health Nutter July 31, 2008

There’s been a lot of hype in the news recently about the miracles of keeping a food log. Tons of stories, like the one found in Metro’s Tuesday’s article, “Start a diary, shed pounds ,” have cited findings from a recent study of nearly 1700 overweight people. It’s big news because the results show that this extremely easy-to-use, mobile and highly attentive method doubles weight loss efforts !

The authors of the study suggest that keeping a food diary give dieters the ammunition they need to triumph in their battle against the bulge. Knowing how many calories are consumed in a day and where they come from, allow dieters to create and execute a successful plan of attack.

But why do food diaries work so well?

The investigators for the study say food diaries work well because they:

  • are easy to use and adopt as a practise, beating exercise hands down especially in the initial stages of weight loss
  • identify where calories can be cut
  • clearly define a plan of action, rather than relying on a vague notion to eat less
  • track daily food intake, so dieters can see how well they are sticking to their plan

The accountability factor is huge because when we stray from our decisions and plans, we know that we are jeopardizing the achievement of our goals. Guilt then comes into play – a very strong motivator.

The biggest, most powerful reason why food diaries work so well, though, is that they promote awareness. Most of us don’t realize how many calories we consume in a day and I can guarantee that if we guessed, we’d underestimate BIG TIME. Food diaries unlock the knowledge that will reduce caloric intake and result in weight loss.

Interestingly, money management experts suggest keeping a log to track spending habits. And really, that’s what we want to change in both of these cases: habits or unconscious behaviour that no longer work for us.

In essence, food diaries force us to be more conscious of our choices . They allow us to analyze our behaviour, making us aware of our unconscious actions so that we can start taking responsibility for the results. Please don’t feel guilty – you didn’t know what was going on! But knowledge is power. Change is within us and after logging your food intake, you can take control of your life and be the person you want to be.

Have you used a food log to lose weight? How did work for you?

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