If you try to recall everything you ate and drank yesterday and how much, chances are that you would forget a few things. While this is completely normal, those forgotten items and amounts can add up quickly and interfere with weight loss and maintenance. You may be engaging in unhealthy patterns that you’re not even aware of. The solution: journal everything that you eat or drink as well as quantity and time.
A Kaiser Permanente study of more than 1,600 people found that those who kept a daily journal lost twice as much weight over 6 months compared to those who did not journal. So, what can you learn from journaling?
- Why you eat when you are not hungry. By recording not just what and how much you eat but also how you feel emotionally as well as hunger and fullness before and after eating, you may realize that you are triggered to eat not by physical hunger but by boredom or even just habit. Journaling allows you to identify the why of your choices so you can work on forming new habits and finding new ways to cope with emotions.
- How dining companions affect your habits. Certain people seem to encourage our indulging in bad habits of food choices and amounts. Realizing this empowers us to make changes around those people. No more co-dependency!
- How much you’re eating. Eating is often mindless! A study out of Cornell University secretly videotaped people eating. Just 5 minutes after the meal was over, diners were asked how much bread they consumed. Most people ate 30% more than they thought and 12% of people denied eating any bread at all until they saw it captured on videotape. Recording your intake forces you to pay attention and offers a real-time reality check.
We encourage our patients to utilize our updated MyVivaliti App to journal not only their diet, but to track other elements that affect weight loss as well. Through this easy-to-use app, you can keep track of your hydration, serving amounts, activity, and even medications and supplements. You can also follow trends for your hunger, stress, and sleep and start to see patterns that could be affecting your success. During your office visits, we will go over your journaling information and your progress to help maximize your weight loss success.
Medically reviewed by Jay J. Garcia, MD on April 14, 2016