Dear Food Diary: Please Help Me Lose Weight

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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!