[caption id="attachment_128" align="alignleft" width="228" caption="Weight Loss is Easier with a Food Diary"][/caption]
When you're trying to stick with a low-calorie diet but the pounds just won't come off, keeping track of your daily meals may be the key to success.
Maintaining a food log - in either written or electronic form - is a simple strategy for losing weight because it makes you more mindful about every bite.
Bodybuilders, athletes and successful dieters have long used this method during their calorie-cutting phase, and researchers from the Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon suggest; "It seems that the simple act of writing down what you eat encourages people to consumer fewer calories" (Source: LifeScript.com).
A food journal can also help you track when and where you ate each meal; identify 'trigger foods - those that make you want to overeat; and help you make progress by slowly cutting back on tempting treats or indulgences over a course of a few weeks.
Researchers at the Portland center found that those who kept a food journal lost an average of 13 pounds over the course of the study, and the amount lost was significantly higher than those who did not keep track of their daily or weekly intake.
Other benefits of using a food diary include:
- Holding yourself accountable
- Finding out what is working for you - and what isn't
- Increasing awareness of your eating habits (mindful eating)
- Bringing your self-defeating habits to light
- Practicing a healthy level of self-monitoring
Maintaining a food diary is often an element of nutritional therapy and weight loss programs that help you maintain a healthy weight for the long-term.