Has anyone ever told you before that a calorie log/food journal is a good idea? Well, I’m here to tell you AGAIN THAT IT IS!
In 2008, a study conducted with 1,700 participants showed that people who log or track calories were the bigger weight losers. According to Jack Hollis Ph.D., a researcher at Kaiser Permanente "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."
When I tell this to people, most groan and say “yeah, but I don’t have time”, or “it’s not really that convenient”, or “I’m not really that into that.”
Listen, if you want to be successful, you need to put in the work. Let me give you two examples. Aaron Rogers, quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, didn’t just suddenly become a professional athlete overnight. No, he practices constantly to get good at what he does. It might seem boring, doing the same thing over and over again, but that’s how you get good. Another example, if sports aren’t your thing, check out the pianist Lang Lang. Same thing: practice, practice, practice. At this stage in his career he only practices 2 hours a day. When he was younger, if was even more!
How to log? My Fitness Pal is a great, FREE tool. You can either use the desktop version or the app (they both sync with each other). This is a great tool to track not only nutrition, but exercise and progress as well. Based on your current height, weight, age, and gender, My Fitness Pal will suggest how many calories you should eat depending on your goals. The website version has been around for quite a while and both the website and app are free. Their database houses over 3 million food items, so searching for food to log is a breeze. A great feature of the app is the bar code scanner that reads the UPC from a food package and automatically adds nutritional information to your food log. In addition to calories, you can track carbs, sodium, calcium, iron, sugar, fiber, cholesterol, and other vitamin and nutrients. They also have a great community message board that is inspiring, helpful, and sometimes just downright hilarious to read through. When you exercise and log it into My Fitness Pal, it calculates an estimate of how many calories you burned and adds those calories back into your daily calorie allowance. The more you exercise, the more you can eat! I recommend My Fitness Pal to many people because tracking is fast and easy.
Give it a try! What do you have to lose, besides unwanted pounds and poor nutrition?? And remember, if it were easy, everyone would be doing it!