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The 34 Words Which keep Your Weight Down

In today’s technology obsessed world it’s no surprise that weight loss apps are so popular, but according to new research, the old school pencil and paper work just as well when it comes to losing weight. Food journals are an important, but often overlooked, tool in your weight loss battle that can really have an impact on your results. The power of journaling has most recently been supported by data coming out of the long-term Look AHEAD obesity project, an 11-year study that was funded by the National Institute of Health.

Among the 550 participants in the study who kept records of what they ate, those who wrote at least 34 words a day lost the most amount of weight. On average, these subjects dropped 12% of the weight they started at over the year they were tracked. The key is to use lots of words. When the level of detail in the journal went under 33 words, the average weight loss dropped to as low as 9% of starting weight.

Some smart tips on food journaling…

Write every single thing you eat or drink down, right away.

Include what you’re doing while you’re eating.

Describe how you felt while eating.

Be honest because no one has to see it but you.

At the end of each day, look at how your emotions impacted your eating.

When it comes to your food journal, details really count. So instead of listing cereal, milk and banana for breakfast, write the brand name of the cereal, the amount you’re having, the kind of milk and the amount and even the size of the banana. Include the amount of calories of each. It might sound like a lot of work, but as you do it more, you’ll get faster at recording all you’re eating and drinking.

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The 34 Words Which keep Your Weight Down Continued…

As you see, food journaling ups your awareness of what, how much, and why you eat. This helps you cut out that mindless eating, and show you areas where you might make changes. Food journals also identify triggers to overeating that you can modify (like stress) or avoid (like idle time in front of the TV). You might be surprised to find some surprising sources of calories, what you’re drinking or snacking on. The good news is that food journals help you see this and thus make changes that truly impact the calories you take in per day, and thus your weight.

The time and effort you put into food journaling is worth it in terms of weight loss, many well done weight loss studies support this idea. Keeping a food journal will help you monitor (and stay accountable) for everything you put into your mouth. You’ll get into the habit, rather quickly, of writing everything you eat or drink in your journal. For some, the act of just writing things down is enough. Many decide not to eat something because they don’t want to write it down.

Another great journaling tip, that’s also totally low-tech, is pairing up with a buddy who is trying to lose weight. This kind of support really helps. You can share your daily food journal entries with each other; you might even text after every meal and then talk by phone (or in person) each day.

To your good health,