4 Ways Logging Your Meals & Snacks Boosts Weight Loss

Kimberly Daly Farrell
by Kimberly Daly Farrell
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4 Ways Logging Your Meals & Snacks Boosts Weight Loss

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!

About the Author

Kimberly Daly Farrell
Kimberly Daly Farrell

Kimberly Daly Farrell is a contributor at MyFitnessPal. A certified health coach and self-proclaimed running addict, Kimberly studied integrative nutrition and has completed three marathons. She has previously held editorial positions at Shape, Glamour, Fitness, and Good Housekeeping magazines. You can follow Kimberly’s running adventures on her personal blog, Some Kind Of Runderful.


5 responses to “4 Ways Logging Your Meals & Snacks Boosts Weight Loss”

  1. […] because writing down what you eat creates awareness and keeps you accountable. (My fitness pal) No way will I always eat perfectly everyday. But MyFitnessPal helps me make good decisions. Before […]

  2. ogr99 says:

    One thing I don’t understand- I’m 51 years old and had a goal weight of 200, from 243 (ugh!). The program gave my a balance of about 3500 calories? So I would ride my bike, burn about 1150 calories and the program said i had a ‘balance’ of 2400 calories. That seems really high. Am I doing something wrong?

    • JIM says:

      Calories don’t work sorry. At least in dietetics it’s a way to guess what’s going on with your body, and that won’t take you far

      It’s not about calories but about oveating

    • Mark says:

      First thing you need to do is make sure the numbers are accurate. You need to find out what your resting metabolic rate (RMR) is. This is the amount of calories needed to sustain you at your current weight if you lied in bed all day and did nothing but breath. You can go online and find sites that can help with that. Then figure out how many calories you burn normally in your average day not including exercise. When that is accomplished then you’ll have a better perspective of where your at for calories. The 3500 a day is probably what you normally burn on an average day at your current weight. Then get a quality heart rate monitor to calculate calories burned more accurately. The calorie counter on cardio machines are not accurate at all so do not go by what they say. After doing that set your calorie goal and stick with it. Losing weight is simple, calories in and calories out. If you burn more then you consume your going to drop lbs.

  3. Darsie Klar says:

    I’ve been overweight for 10 years and tried so many things. Different things work for different people and I was lucky enough to find one that worked for me. I lost 25 pounds in one month without exercise and it has been a life changer. I’m a little embarrased to post my before and after photos here but if anyone actually cares to hear what I’ve been doing then I’d be happy to help in any way. Just shoot me an email at oceanflowers82@gmail.com and I’ll show you my before and after photos, and tell you about how things are going for me with the stuff I’ve tried. I wish someone would have helped me out when I was struggling to find a solution so if I can help you then it would make my day

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