Want to hit your weight loss goal? Start keeping track of everything you eat and drink. The cereal you had for breakfast, the sandwich and baked chips you scarfed for lunch, that caffeine fix you reached for at 3:35pm—everything! Sure, it can feel tedious at first, but research proves if you stick with it you’ll reap the rewards.
Several studies show people who keep food journals are more successful at losing weight and keeping it off. In fact, a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine reveals keeping a food diary can double your weight loss efforts. Switch from pen and paper to an app like MyFitnessPal and studies show your chances of being a big loser go up even more.
Need another nudge to get started? Or to get started again? Here are 4 ways logging breakfast, lunch, and dinner (and that little cookie you had after dinner!) can have a positive effect on your waistline.
1. Logging creates awareness Deadlines at work, shuttling the kids around, your mom’s birthday is coming up… Chances are you’re trying to keep track of a lot of things. And often being mindful of what you eat (or when you eat it) gets lost in the shuffle. In fact, most people underestimate the exact amount of food eaten daily because they fail to take calories or portion sizes into consideration—meaning, we eat more than we think we do. Logging every meal and snack (even that handful of M&Ms from your coworkers desk!) quickly puts things into perspective.
2. Logging keeps you accountable Knowing you’re going to have to log what goes in your mouth might help you think twice about a second helping or a tasty splurge. Need even more accountability? Connect with your friends on MyFitnessPal and share your food diary. Data shows people who connect with other MyFitnessPal users lose three times as much weight than those who go it alone. And MyFitnessPal members who share their food diary with friends lose twice as much weight as users who aren’t an open book with their food logging.
3. Logging delivers “aha!” moments Seeing a list of everything you’ve eaten for the day and comparing the actual number of calories you consumed to your target-weight-loss calories can be eye opening. You’ll be able to spot areas where you can easily improve—swapping out that soda for plain water, for example. And it will show you where you can afford to treat yourself—skipping an afternoon snack might mean you can have a few bites of dessert later!
4. Logging tracks your progress The longer your streak the more data you have to look at. Being able to scroll through your diary entries proves you’re making progress. You can quickly see you how far you’ve come, which can motivate you to keep going!
Ready to get started? These 5 Simple Ways to Become a Consistent Food & Fitness Tracker can help you kick off your healthy new habit!
What other benefits come from logging your foods in MyFitnessPal? Share your thoughts in the comments!