Log it to Lose it!
Yesterday, researchers at Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health Research reported the results of a 6 month study involving 1,685 middle-aged men and women, finding that those who kept a food diary just about every day lost about twice as much weight as those who did not.
This was NO surprise to fitness professionals, myself included, who have long preached written food logs when trying to lose weight.
And it doesn't matter much if you use a formal notebook or scraps of paper as long as they are legible and kept organized for review. As soon as you commit to logging your food intake many things can happen. First, you discover potential "hidden" calories. You also notice any long periods with no eating (be sure to log the time), as well as instances of less intake of healthy choices (ie. fruits, veggies, water) than originally thought. Finally, you're more mindful of the foods you choose and the portions you eat, knowing that in the interest of full disclosure, everything will need to be written down and made a part of the "official" history.
I remember very clearly a client who was preparing for a wedding and despite our vigorous efforts was not losing the weight we expected. After having her log her food for a week we discovered that her "healthy" chicken & veggie bentos along with her pasta primaveras included 3 servings of rice and an equal amount of pasta respectively. Bottom line, while her overall choices were acceptable she was consuming way more calories than she thought. Once we identified the problem, she was on her way to success.
So bottom line, if you want to increase YOUR success in shedding pounds, one of the best ways is to create a food diary and write it all down. Log it to lose it!