Dear Food Diary: Please Help Me Lose Weight

Image: \'Pencils and Moleskines 04\' www.flickr.com/photos/33586091@N00/82648702

Using a food diary to track what you eat may be the secret to weight loss. New research published in the August issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, shows that keeping a food diary can double a person’s weight loss.

“The more food records people kept, the more weight they lost,” said lead author Jack Hollis Ph.D., a researcher at Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Health Research in Portland, OR. “Those who kept daily food records lost twice as much weight as those who kept no records.”

In addition to keeping food diaries and turning them in at weekly support group meetings, the 1,700 participants were asked to follow a heart-healthy DASH (a Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low-fat or non-fat dairy, attend weekly group sessions, and exercise at moderate intensity levels for at least 30 minutes a day. After six months, the average weight loss was approximately 13 pounds and more than two-thirds of the participants (69 percent) lost at least nine pounds.

Researchers note that keeping a food journal does not have to be formal or time-intensive. It can be as simple as using a pen and paper to write down what you’ve eaten for the day, or typing your meals into an online food journaling program.

“It’s the process of reflecting on what you eat that helps us become aware of our habits, and hopefully change our behavior,” says Keith Bachman, MD, a Weight Management Initiative member. He adds that food journaling in conjunction with a weight management program is the ideal combination of tools and support.

The SimpleWeight Food Diary

Many weight management Web sites can help you start a food journal, but select sites, such as SimpleWeight.com, offer more advanced options to help with weight loss.

“Writing down what you eat makes you accountable for the calories you are consuming,” said SimpleWeight.com co-creator Scott Stawarz. “Seeing what we eat day after day, and sharing that information with others influences us to make better decisions about what we eat.”

Stawarz adds that SimpleWeight.com offers a comprehensive approach to food journaling and weight management. This comprehensive approach, known as The SimpleWeight Solution, provides:

  • A Food Journaling Program to track what you eat and drink on a daily basis
  • A Food Database that breaks down the calories, fat, and nutrients in foods and beverages, allowing you to see your total intake of calories, etc. for the day
  • An Exercise Database that estimates how many calories you’ve burned based on your weight and length of activity
  • A Weight Tracking System that allows you to input your weight each day and monitors your weight loss/gain trend over time
  • A Social Network to share your weight-loss triumphs and challenges with others

Make weight loss simple – Join Simpleweight to start your own food diary today!

Eating Healthy, 30 minutes Walking, and 60 minutes Quiet Thinking fixes Health Problems

Just another reason to eat healthy and exercise.

As reported by Will Dunham from Reuters, Dean Ornish conducted some studies on men with prostate cancer who elected against surgery for remediation.  To try to combat the low grade cancer: the men in the study:

  • Ate Healthy,
  • Exercised 30 minutes a day, and
  • Meditated | Prayed | Thought for 60 minutes a day.

Guess what happened?  In three months time, they lost weight as expected, but even more encouraging is they actually changed Genes.  The healthy lifestyle activated some disease fighting genes and deactivated some unhealthy genes.  WOW!

Read the Original News source: Healthy lifestyle triggers genetic changes: study

I know many a people who say they can’t lose weight or can’t get healthy, because they have bad genes or they are big boned, or you name the excuse.  Well, here is a study that says even if you have bad genes, you can get healthy with lifestyle changes.  To steal a phrase from someone before me:  Yes we can!

What’s stopping you from committing to a healthy lifestyle?

I want you around.  I want you to live life! Enjoy what Earth, God, Metaphysics provide for you.  Happiness is health and family.  Frolic with grand children at the park, Watch your dog chase his tail, or just watching the trees blow in the wind.

Where do I start?

Well, Let’s Think about it.

What do kids get on their children’s menu at restaurants?  They get connect the dot pictures.  It allows the child to create a dog, lion, car, or any number of pictures by following the dots one at a time slowly and incrementally.  It’s much easier to connect the dots to draw a picture than to draw on a blank slate.

So, connect the dots!  Start Slow, be methodical and incremental.  Work up a ladder.  I’ll expand on this method later, but here’s the abridged version:

Dots:

  • 0 days – 14 days: Commit to weighing yourself everyday for the first 2 weeks.

Don’t worry about the details. The fact that you are weighing yourself everyday is the accomplishment!

  • 14 days – 42 days:  Continue weighing yourself everyday, in fact, don’t stop weighing yourself for the rest of your life.  Add to that small amounts of exercise everyday.  I recommend the 8 minute weight workout, but you could also do 10 minutes of walking everyday, gradually build up.

You’ve got some great new habits now.  you weigh yourself everyday and you commit to your 10 minutes of exercise a day!

Lets add another dot.

  • 42 days – 56 days:  Continue your current weighing and exercise habits.  Now add tracking your diet everyday.  Keep a pen and paper handy.  Write down everything you eat, and just keep track, don’t worry about how much you eat.  Just log it.

We’re finding out internally what we do.  when we eat.  It will guide us in our nutrition plan.  Do I really eat 3 starbucks a day?  Do I have that many potato chips?  you can be amazed at what you eat without knowing it.  Again, remember the goal is to Identify and Track.  That’s the accomplishment for this dot.

  • 56 days – 84 days:  Pick one dietary change each week, and focus on that change.

Examples:  I recommend lowering your diet each week by 200 calories.  Or, Pick a food item that really causes you trouble.  For me it is french Fries.  If I cut out french fries, I cut out a ton of places I’d go to eat which means I make different diet changes.  I also have the challenge of large portions.  So, that can be my change.  Whatever it is, Pick one and focus while keeping up your habits.

  • 84 days – forever:  Rinse, Recycle, and Repeat.  What I mean, is this is lifestyle change.  we have to be willing to commit to the change and keep it at that.  it’s a change.  No going back.  Learn to love new foods and new ways of eating, Learn to love exercising, make it fun for you.  By creating these new habits, we can replace our old diet habits.

How do you connect the dots?  What’s your incremental lifestyle change you can make?  Can you commit?

Of course, I recommend simpleweight for managing this healthy diet and exercise planning.

Organizing Behaviors make for Successful Weight Loss.

Organizing Thinking Behaviors will aid in weight loss.  Picture from:  Stock Xchng http://www.sxc.hu/photo/455452/  Created by:  Henkster: http://www.sxc.hu/profile/Henkster

Wow. What a powerful study. A CNN.com article titled: Weight loss is all in your head details that Inga Treitler, Ph.D studied the behavior of 10 people from the National Weight Control Registry. The people with the greatest weight loss success are:

…controlled, methodical, disciplined sticklers for structure and routine. Punctual and neat, they always have a plan, timetable and calendar with appointments penciled in….

Now, not everyone thinks this way. Some of us are emotional gut thinkers, some of us are visual thinkers, some of us are analytical and mathematical thinkers.

How does this help us with weight loss or weight gain?

First, identify your personality type to help you succeed with your weight loss . I did this by reading books by Dr. David Keirsey: Please Understand Me: Character and Temperament Types and Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence.

If you don’t want to read the books, there are many other ways to determine your behavior habits by searching the web for Type and Temperament surveys.

Second, Use your behavior type to your advantage. Some examples include:

  • If you are a Visual Thinker, then you could take time to visualize weight gain, draw pictures of your weight management, make collages of you exercising, visualize eating properly, visualize yourself at your ideal weight, and draw mind-maps of your weight management goals.
  • If you are an Emotional Thinker, then use your emotions. Ask Friends to talk about what’s best for weight loss. Teach someone about exercising. Design activities that arouse your emotions and Use Anger, Happiness, Fear, Peace, Worry, Satisfaction, etc. to support your weight gain or weight loss goals.
  • If you are a Mathematical Thinker, then you could think of your weight loss as a math problem, and devise multiple solutions and proofs. Calculate the calories at each meal designing an analytical solution for your day’s meal plan
  • Finally, if you are an Organized Thinker, Make To Do Lists, Organize, and Add to your Calendar when you are going to lose weight. Make a recipe plan daily of what you plan to eat.

I’ll expand on these topics in a future post.

Third, Modify your behavior and thinking to help you become a more Organized Thinker.

Now, here’s the detail, I think is important, is that your temperament and type will likely change. I can see in my past activities, there have been periods of times where I was very much an analytical thinker, visual thinker, emotional thinker, and even the structured thinker.

Even if you are not an organized thinker, we can apply the practices of David Allen’s Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and Brian Tracy’s Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time to our weigh management life.

When you are practicing organizing behavior, you are firing neurons in the part of the brain that helps with successful weight loss.

If you have been procrastinating on cleaning out the garage. Plan to do it now while you are managing your weight.

If you need to schedule a dentist appointment, doctor’s appointment, or gambling appointment with your bookie. Do that now.

If you are notoriously late, then learn to wake up early and become punctual!

The mere action of organizing and building a structure to your life will help with your weight loss.

Finally, Use an online Weight Management Tool to help you organize your weight goals and to assist building organizing behaviors. As the CNN.com article states, perform activities that are adding to your organizing behavior. One way to do so is to track what you eat, track what you do, and track what what you weigh everyday!

Picture source: Stock Xchng: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/455452/
Picture created by: Henkster: http://www.sxc.hu/profile/Henkster

Weigh yourself every day to prevent weight gain.

According to the December 2005 issue of the Annals of Behavioral Medicine,

“Higher weighing frequency was associated with greater 24-month weight loss or less weight gain.”

For more information see: Health Behavior News Service

Research presented at a 2005 medical conference on obesity indicates that daily weigh-ins can help prevent lost weight from returning, which is a particularly common phenomenon among many dieters. In a study involving 291 individuals (mostly women) who had succeeded in shedding an average of 44 pounds over the previous two years, researchers divided participants into three groups. Each group participated in a different kind of follow-up over the next 18 months: 1) receiving monthly face-to-face counseling; 2) participating in Internet chat rooms; or 3) reading monthly newsletters. All participants were encouraged to weigh themselves daily.

At the end of the 18-month study, the researchers found that intensive support and personal interaction particularly helped dieters maintain weight loss. The researchers were also surprised to observe that the participants who continued to weigh themselves daily regained very little weight compared with those who weighed themselves less frequently. “You’re more likely to catch small changes in body weight” if you check your weight daily, says Rena Wing, director of the weight control center at Brown University Medical School in Rhode Island. Adds Wing, “It’s much easier to get back on track if you’ve just gained a pound or two.” Associated Press 2005
See news release by NAASO The Obesity Study

Four Tips of Weighing yourself Daily.

Jennifer Warner from webmd.com writes a nice article about how to and when to weigh yourself.
Jennifer quotes Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association with these great tips for weighing yourself:

The 4 S’s of Weighing Yourself

When you do weigh yourself on a scale, Blatner says you strive for sameness. Weigh yourself at the:

  • Same time of day, on the
  • Same day each week, wearing the
  • Same clothing, and using the
  • Same scale

We agree with the experts that weighing yourself every day at the same time with the same clothing, and the same scale will provide you with the best simple weight trend analysis. However, with Simpleweight.com, you can calculate trends whether you weigh yourself daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, consistently, or even inconsistently. The key is just to keep track of your weight and make wise decisions based upon your trend analysis.

Simpleweight.com coming in 2007.

Another Reason to use Simple weight.

According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine Oct 12, 2006,  “…a self-regulation program based on daily weighing improved maintenance of weight loss…”

This study concludes exactly what we believe:  A person needs to monitor trends in your weight and BMI in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Simpleweight helps monitor trends by making the management of your weight data easy.  Just step on the scale everyday, and enter that information into Simpleweight.  We recommend not stressing over the daily fluxtuations in weight, but look at the weekly or monthly fluxuations by monitoring your simple weight reports.  By having a central storage place for your weight, exercise, and eating data, We will help you monitor your Food In = Food Out equation.

Do you simpleweight?  You will be able to soon.