Can food journaling really help you lose weight? According to a group of researchers involved in the Weight Loss Maintenance study, the answer is a resounding yes.
In the study, which was conducted at four locations across the U.S., including Johns Hopkins University and Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, nearly 1,700 overweight and obese Americans were asked to keep a daily journal of both food and exercise and attend weekly classes on healthy eating and moderate exercise. After six months, participants lost an average of 13 pounds. When researchers analyzed the data, they found that weight loss virtually doubled between those who kept a journal and those who didn't.
According to J. Graham Thomas, Ph.D., Co-Investigator for the U.S.–based National Weight Control Registry (which monitors the habits and behaviors of more than 5,000 individuals who have lost weight and kept it off for at least a year), "Keeping a food log ranks up there among the top three or four most important strategies people use to lose weight and keep it off." In other words, in addition to cleaning up your diet and exercising regularly, writing down what you eat is one of the most important things you can do to lose weight and best of all, keep it off.