Do you have a reason you want to lose weight?
For me, it’s just six extra pounds that will help me feel more comfortable when I hit the beach with my family this summer.
But I’d be remiss if I didn’t admit health wasn’t a bigger and more important reason than feeling comfortable in my swimsuit…
I don’t want to just enjoy the beach this summer with my family, but for many years to come. And I know that excess weight can increase my risk of early death.
That’s why I’m always looking for ways to make it easier to meet my goal weight.
Luckily for me, and anyone else wanting to trim down to a healthier waistline, results of a new study were just published — results that prove once again this best predictor of weight loss success, and how to use it to finally drop that extra weight…
Write it when you bite it
It’s not a surprise, really. Previous studies have revealed it works.
What am I talking about?
Keeping a food journal — or simply writing down what you eat throughout the day.
There’s just one problem…
“People hate it; they think it’s onerous and awful, but the question we had was: How much time does dietary self-monitoring really take?” said Jean Harvey, chair of the Nutrition and Food Sciences Department at the University of Vermont and the lead author of the study. “The answer is, not very much.”
In fact, the researchers followed 142 participants in an online weight-loss program over 24 weeks and found that those who were most successful, losing approximately 10 percent of their body weight, spent just 23.2 minutes per day on self-monitoring in the first month.
And get this — by the sixth month, that time had dropped to only 14.6 minutes per day.
In fact, the researchers found that it’s not how long you spend keeping track of your food but how often you do it that counts.
“Those who self-monitored three or more time per day, and were consistent day after day, were the most successful,” Harvey said. “It seems to be the act of self-monitoring itself that makes the difference — not the time spent, or the details included.”
Now you have it — If you want to lose weight, your best chance of hitting your goal is to monitor and record your calorie and fat intake throughout your day. And according to the researchers, you can throw all those excuses out the window, because it’s not as much hassle as you might think.
Food Journal: Record for success
Hopefully, I’ve helped convince you that keeping a food journal is a great tool. Here are some specifics on how to get started…
According to the researchers, you should keep a log of the calories and fat for all foods and beverages you consume, as well as the portion sizes and how you prepared your meals. Just keeping the log will hold you accountable for your food choices and help you make small changes that can make a positive impact on your weight.
So, if you’re ready to find your swimsuit sweet spot by the time the warm weather hits, and slim down to avoid metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and a myriad of other disease related to weight gain, start your own food journal today.
Remember, it’s not the length of time you spend on it that counts but the fact that you do it regularly.
- Is the most effective weight-loss strategy really that hard? — University of Vermont