One of the easiest ways to boost weight loss is also the simplest, research finds.
People who keep food diaries lose twice as much weight when on a diet, a recent study finds.
Making a note of what is consumed, even in the most informal way, helps to boost weight loss.
Indeed, studies have shown that the more careful notes people make, the more weight they end up losing.
Dr Jack Hollis, the author of a study on food diaries and weight loss, explained:
“The more food records people kept, the more weight they lost.
Those who kept daily food records lost twice as much weight as those who kept no records.
It seems that the simple act of writing down what you eat encourages people to consume fewer calories.”
The key is consistency: not just in keeping to a diet, but also in recording food intake.
The process of keeping a diary does not have to be difficult.
It could be as simple as sending a text message or email message to keep a record.
Keeping a food diary works because it makes people more aware of what they are eating.
Awareness is one of the keys to breaking ingrained habits.
People tend to do the same things each day, like eating, without really noticing.
Bad eating habits can, little by little, lead to weight gain.
Notes raise self-awareness and help increase weight loss.
In the study were 1,685 people who followed the DASH diet for six months.
The DASH diet is designed to be heart healthy and includes many fruits and vegetables.
Thirty minutes of exercise per day was also included in the protocol.
At the end of the study, people had lost an average of 13 pounds.
The results showed, though, that people keeping a food diary lost twice as much weight.
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (Hollis et al., 2008).