Are you paying attention to what you are eating??

So, you are taking the time out of you busy life to work out to lose some weight.  Good job!  But, are you sabotaging all your progress by NOT paying attention to what and how much you are eating?  I know you may hate the me telling you this, but if you are trying to lose weight, I mean like 100% trying to shed fat, you NEED to keep a food journal.  I can almost guarantee you are eating too much, the wrong things, or maybe even too little.

A recent study of 1,700 overweight men and women who participated in a six-month weight-loss program found that those who kept daily food records lost twice as much weight as those who kept no records. (Participants also exercised, reduced caloric intake and ate low-fat dairy products plus an average of three servings of fruits and vegetables daily) 

Why do food journals work?

They help hold us accountable for what we are actually eating and raise our awareness of this food that is going into our mouth.  We can "lie" and tell ourselves that we dont know why we keep gaining weight, since we are eating good or how we hardly eat all day, but we forget all the little snacks we mindlessly grab.  Like finishing off the little bits of cookie left in the bag, or the handfull of M & M's that you grabbed when you went by a co-workers desk, or even all the tasting you did when you were cooking dinner.  You know what I mean right?  If we think about it, we do these things all the time.  Now, if we are journaling all that we eat, we can no longer try to tell ourselves that we don't snack that much...  It just makes us pay attention to what we are doing.  It is a lot harder to face the fact that we are eating way too much or eating a lot of junk, when it is right there, on paper, in front of us! 

Another important factor in food journaling is keeping track of your portion sizes.  If you keep track of your portion sizes you will start to learn what they look like better.  Then when you are out in a resturant, you can see that most dishes are around 3-4 portions!! 

Make your food journal work for you

Obsessing about how many carrots you ate is not the point of keeping the food journal!  Just let it work with you to make you more aware of what, when, and how much you are eating.  Make it easy to keep a journal.  Keep a piece of paper in your pocket and scribble down your information when you eat and put it in a notepad later.  Or, if it works better for you, keep track on your computer, or in a little notebook.  Make it work for you!  Don't make it hard or it wont work and you will lose interest and not continue. 

Now, since you are taking all this time to do this journal, make sure you review your notes every day.  See what your patterns are and make changes.  Give food journaling a try.  It has a lot of research that backs it up, proving how well it assists in weight loss efforts.  Good luck and keep working hard!