Days 24-30 of my Weight Loss Journal. Do I really need to keep track of my food in a food journal forever to lose or maintain my weight? (See the other day’s in this weight loss diary here.
The evidence is overwhelming! My weight loss journey was not the only evidence. There are many other research studies. People who kept a food log were more successful in losing weight.
- From the Journal of Diabetes Research: “dietary tracking was found to be an important component of successful weight loss, with those who tracked at least 5 days of each week showing significant and sustained weight loss over time as compared to those who tracked fewer days or inconsistently during the program. Consistent tracking is a significant predictor of weight loss, resulting in an additional seven pounds of weight loss over the course of the program” Source.
- From Stanford Medicine, “According to the study, the closer people track their weight-loss efforts with things like smart watches, digital scales and diet-monitoring websites, the more weight they tend to lose.” (Source: Obesity Research)
- American Journal of Preventative Medicine, as published by Harvard “those who kept daily food records lost twice as much weight as those who kept no records.”
With imperfect information on what I’m eating, I would never know if calorie counting is working.If I take a few bites, licks and tastes, and then measure the results, I can THINK my thoughts. “low calorie diet” just doesn’t work, When, in fact, I don’t have a clear picture of the data. I could be eating in excess, even though I truly believe I’m eating in a deficit! It’s SO hard to know intuitively with so much rich and easily accessible food.
If I overeat just one day in a week, I can think my low calorie diet isn’t working, but it could be that I’m NOT actually in a calorie deficit overall. I used to track calories over a week and calculate the average daily calories at the end. It’s so enlightening to see that one day of “a little extra”This can give you a surplus of calories for the entire week.
At the end of the day, it’s hard to stick with a plan when the immediate reward of food is easier to choose than the DELAYED reward of reaching your goals. Let me repeat this: It’s hard to stick to your diet, when the immediate reward of food is easier to choose than the delayed reward of reaching your goal weight. Sometimes, your goal weight may be MONTHS away. A cookie today is much more rewarding than a body you dream of a year later.
But I believe if we can start to see our future selves at our goal and feel that reward of feeling great about reaching it, we will be able to make better choices for the present.
Still trying to lose 10lbs
So, back to my journal here….
Throughout this 30 days that I’ve been trying to lose weight, I was pretty consistent with my calories and tracking food for two weeks. I was patient with the scale because it takes time to see results. And let’s be honest guys- when did two weeks ever seem long enough to really know if something is working? I should not be discouraged after two weeks that I wasn’t losing weight more quickly.
Then came week 3. I was celebrating my birthday on the weekend, and I ate way too much. Although the rest of the week I was “Thought I was right on track, the scale took a wild ride!
But, I honestly can’t know if it was because it takes that long for one day of overeating to make the rest of the week unpredictable, but more likely because I wasn’t tracking the rest of the week.
I can think I was eating on my plan, but without recording food, I can’t gauge the impact of my food on my results.
I let go of all emotion about my daily eating habits and the results of the scale when I lost weight for the bikini competition. My experience was a science experiment.
The question of the day is: Will I have the responsibility to track food for the rest of my life? The hard truth is that I love food. I love food so much, that when I’m not tracking, the mindless, habitual snacking takes over. As a 49 year-old woman of short stature, a few hundred extra calories per day can make a huge difference over the course a year.
Yes, for me. It is essential to keep track of my weight loss. But I don’t think tracking is toxic, or disordered, or laborious. It’s more like a tracking your spending on a budget. It’s necessary to stay on top of your game and get the most our of life.
So, here’s to tracking more days!! It’s a wonderful thing!