TheNational Weight Control Registry’s ongoing research project has revealed some interesting facts about tracking what we eat. The study follows 3,000 people who have lost an average of 66 pounds. The majority of these people who have kept the weight off for five years have kept a food journal.
I think tracking is paramount to our success at managing our weight. There are several reasons for this. Managing the calorie balance of intake and output, awareness of the calories we actually consume, but mostly awareness, plain and simple that we are eating!
So often, we eat unconsciously and have a tendency to think those calories don’t count. But they do. In fact, those hidden calories that we eat out of habit are most likely the reason for our bodies inability to let go of unwanted pounds.
Get started with a notebook or a journal, and write down everything you eat over the course of seven days. Even the pinch of popcorn and the taste tests while cooking. Don’t worry about calories. Make notes about when you eat, where you are, who you are with and how you feel while eating. This step alone will help you identify the times, people and circumstances that make it difficult for you to eat more healthy.
During the next seven days, you may want to look at calories, fat grams, protein, or fiber. Anything to keep you interested and keep you writing. This exercise will help you start to see your eating patterns and will help you understand your self and your nutritional needs better.
There’s plenty of research out there to show that tracking what you eat, even for one day, can help you make changes to your diet and move you closer to your goals. Write it down!
My favorite tracking tool can be found here: www.52steps.com