Food Journals May Boost Weight Loss
> 7/8/2008 4:35:30 PM

Maintaining a healthy diet and active lifestyle are essential to losing weight, but research that will be published in the August issue of the American Journal of Preventative Medicine indicates that writing in a food journal can also help dieters shed pounds. With 1,685 middle-aged subjects, a team of researchers from Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health Research observed the effects of a number of different dieting strategies, looking for those that had a large influence on weight loss. They found that subjects who kept a record of everything they ate or drank each day lost twice as much weight as those who did not.

The study’s subjects were 55 years old on average and had been prescribed medication for high blood pressure or high cholesterol. All were overweight or obese. Over the course of six months, they attended weekly support group sessions, where they were encouraged to exercise and follow a diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in fat. In addition, they were asked to record their exercise schedule and their daily food intake, including the number of calories they were eating. By the study’s end, the subjects had lost an average of 13 pounds, but individual weight loss rates varied and were highest among those who exercised most often and among those who wrote down the food they ate every day. Subjects who kept a regular food journal lost an average of 18 pounds, while those who did not log their meals on a daily basis lost only 9 pounds on average.

Food journals may aid in weight loss in many ways, especially as it helps individuals see what they eat each day and may give them a better understanding of the caloric content of their favorite foods. With this information in place, they can work to cut excess calories from their normal diet. Food journals allow dieters to then monitor their eating habits and may exert a powerful influence on their behavior. Because they know that everything they eat will be documented, they may be more motivated to eat well. And, importantly, with this record in place, an individual and their physician can assess different aspects of their diet, such as their caloric intake, fat intake, and food variety, and make changes where appropriate.

Food journals helped many of the subjects in this study to arrive at healthier weights, but these individuals may also have been more motivated than those who did not record their daily food intake. In future the studies, the researcher plan to study weigh loss maintenance, and they should continue to examine the effectiveness of food journals. While individuals who are motivated and have support from family, friends, or weight loss programs may be more likely to make lasting lifestyle changes, food journals can help them regulate their diet and move closer to their goals. For those who wish to lose weight, putting eating habits down in writing can be a powerful tool that encourages self-awareness and contributes to healthy behavior.

No comments yet.

Post Your Comments

Post a comment
Email Address:
Verification Code:
Input the 8 characters you see above:


Drug Abuse
Sexual Addiction
Eating Disorders
Alzheimer's Disease

About TOL | Contact Us | Defining Behavioral Fitness | For Healthcare Professionals | Links | Privacy Policy