Write it Down to Ramp up Weight Loss

Many studies show that journaling can help you lose weight. From writing down what you eat to expressing your feelings.  According to a 2008 Kaiser Permanente study, keeping a food journal can help dieters double the number of pounds they lose. The American Journal of Preventive Medicine agrees, stating that according to their research, those who wrote down their meals six times per week lost twice as much weight as those who didn't.

Anne M. Fletcher, author the Thin for Life series, found in her research that the 3 out of 4 adults that kept track of what they ate, at least some of the time, lost an average of 64 pounds over the course of 11 years. "Quite a few mentioned that keeping a food diary is the most important thing they do to keep their weight off," says Fletcher.

Why Journaling Works

Experts believe that journaling works for several reasons. Linadria Porter, author of Change Your Habits, Change Your Life, says that journaling helps dieters become fully aware of the amount of food that they are actually consuming in a given day, hour or week. "So often eating is unconscious and so keeping a log supports the users as a factual document of how much they are eating, says Porter. " It is a valuable tool especially for the emotional eater."

"It's an accountability thing," agrees Fletcher, "it makes you stop and think about what you're putting in your mouth. We also know that people tend to underestimate how much they eat, so this helps you keep a record of the amount of food that you're actually consuming."

How to Start Journaling for Weight Loss

There are many different types of ways to start a food journal, from writing in a simple spiral-bound notebook to joining an online journaling program such as www.HabitChanger.com.

Master trainer Shaun Zetlin offers these tips for starting a food journal:

  • A composition book makes a great easily accessible way to keep track of daily meals. Also, there are some great new technology practices to help with your journal. One website that has worked for my clients is http://weight-loss.fitness.com.
  • Make sure to be honest with yourself even if that means writing down an unhealthy food or meal. Write down everything!
  • Visit forums that offer support and advice from others who are also trying to lose weight.

Journaling only works if it is consistently used, though. Experts, such as Porter, stress that dieters should find a journaling system they like and stick to it to get results.