I will lose 20 pounds. If only saying it could make it happen.
Nearly 1,700 people participated in a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/podcasts.cfm?id=60-second-science , (July 11, 2008). They followed a heart-healthy diet full of fruit, vegetables, and low-fat or nonfat dairy; attended weekly group sessions; and exercised moderately for 30 minutes a day. After six months nearly two-thirds had lost at least nine pounds. The biggest surprise came from the food logs — people who kept track of what they ate lost twice as much as those who didn’t.
Why should you write down what you eat?
It helps you remember what you’ve consumed. Your short-term memory (your active memory) stores info for about 18 seconds. That’s why it’s important to write down what you ate right away. You forget – or overlook – if you wait until the end of the day. You mean you forgot about the candy bar you bought when you stopped for gas?
It creates a record of what you consumed. It’s way too easy to forget the candy you snagged from the bowl on someone’s desk or the rest of the grilled cheese sandwich you ate off of your son’s plate.
It shows you’re serious. Putting your goals on paper takes them from thought to commitment.
A written record keeps you accountable. At the end of the day you have to account for your actions to yourself. Seeing what you’ve eaten in writing makes it a lot harder to lie to yourself.
It can help you to spot patterns. You may not even realize that you routinely hit the vending machine every day at 11AM and 3PM – or that your car always navigates its way past the donut shop for your glazed chocolate fix on the way home.
Seeing what, how much, and when you’re eating can be a real eye opener and the key to a strategic eating plan to fit your lifestyle.