26 July 12 Above All, Write it Down

You may have noticed that a new study on women, weight loss and keeping a food journal has been garnering a lot of press in the last couple weeks. The study was published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Upon review, one interesting finding stuck out – that perhaps more important than exercise, it was keeping track of calories that contributed to weight loss.

The study included 123 previously inactive, overweight (average BMI of 31.3) and postmenopausal women (50 to 75) in Seattle. Over a year, all the women followed a restricted-calorie diet and all were required to keep a detailed, seven-day food journal each week. Half the group was put on an exercise regimen and the remaining half was not.

After a year, both the diet-alone group and diet-and-exercise group lost an average of 11% of their starting weight (about 19 pounds). Now, we all understand that exercise is an important part of living a healthy lifestyle, but this study showed an interesting occurrence that the real key to losing weight was tracking foods and monitoring calorie intake.

And to further prove this, the study found that women who were very diligent with tracking foods lost about six pounds more than those who were not as consistent. Additionally, women who skipped meals lost about eight fewer pounds than those who did not skip meals. Women who ate out for lunch at least once a week also lost about five fewer pounds than those who did not eat out as frequently.

And to make your weight loss journal as effective as possible, experts suggest that recording foods as soon as you eat them is better than waiting until the end of the day. Also, it's important to record your level of hunger along with the foods eaten. Most importantly, perhaps, is that a food journal should be used to record all foods, even ones we "sneak" into the day, even if it's just one bite.

Ryan Newhouse

Ryan Newhouse is the Marketing Director for MyNetDiary and writes for a variety of publications. He wants you to check out MyNetDiary on Instagram!

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