By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen
Kelly Farris,  ACSM CPT

Staying accountable
By Kelly Farris,  ACSM CPT
Owner of Ladies Workout Snellville

The importance of food journaling in weight loss

How mindful are you of your money? Do you just let 50 dollars slip away here? 300 there? Probably not. When you have a monetary goal do you create a spreadsheet and track the progress? Do you look back over your checking ledger at the end of the month to see exactly where your money has gone?

Now substitute calories for dollars. 

A food journal can be your ledger that accounts for all your caloric expenditures. A record you can look back over. A way to stay mindful about what you are eating. 

The frenzied pace that we live at does not often allow for us to stop and consider what we are putting in our bodies. Or we might have the tendency to skip a meal all together. These are both contributing factors to weight gain. 

Food journaling is a time tested aid in the weight loss process. If you are starting a weight loss program or have hit a plateau in your current program, you might want to consider keeping a food journal. People who want to lose weight should faithfully keep a food journal, avoid skipping meals and avoid eating out at restaurants, especially at lunch. 

Research shows it works: 

1. participants who kept a food journal consistently lost about 6 more pounds than those who did not 

2. participants who skipped meals lost about 8 pounds less than those who ate regular meals 

3. participants who ate out for lunch at least weekly lost 5 pounds fewer than those who ate out less frequently. 

The research also shows, in weight loss, that restricting overall calories supersedes the composition of a diet. Meaning, your total calories for the day is more important than if you are eating “low fat”, “high protein”, or “low carb”. 

A food journal can be especially helpful if you are working with a professional (personal trainer/registered dietician) on your weight loss goals. An accurate food journal can give them an overview of your eating habits and allow them to identify emerging patterns. 

These patterns could indicate a nutrient deficiency in your diet and reveal habits that might be working against you.

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