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Writing your pounds off one meal (and snack) at a time…the power of a food journal

Guest Blog, Kelly, H3 Marketing Specialist

If you were to add up your calories from yesterday, would you be able to recall everything you ate?  And if you could, would you count it all?  (Even the few remaining crumbs of coffee cake left behind in the break room – okay maybe it was a baby piece.)  You may not think OR may not want to think that it all adds up- but it does.

When I first went off to college, I didn’t gain your typical “freshman fifteen.”  Oh no, for me it was more like the freshman thirty (thirty-two to be exact).  I didn’t even realize it until the summer after my first year, when I saw a picture of myself and thought- WHO IS THAT?  Anyways, I hadn’t realized I’d gained that much weight because I THOUGHT I was eating quite similar to what I had been at home.  On top of that, I’ve always been an active person.

My mom was just as baffled (or so I thought) by my weight gain as I was, so she suggested that I log what I ate to see if that’s what had changed (moms always know best AND they’re always right).  So that summer, after eating each meal and snack, I would make note of it and record it in my diary at the end of the day.  I’ve never been a diary person so this took some major getting used to. 

I did this through the WHOLE summer and continued to do so when I returned to college my sophomore year.  I soon found that my food diary was the eye-opener I had needed- it was clear that I was a HUGE snacker and not only that, but I would eat HUGE meals (my portions were at least double that of my meals at home). 

Needless to say, once I noticed this trend- I cut it out!  It wasn’t even that I had much to change, as I continued to eat the same meals- I just watched my portions, and I still had snacks but they were much healthier and much less frequent(!!!).

After my sophomore year (when I had pretty much returned to my normal weight), I stopped my food diary.  It’s not something that I think is necessary, but whenever I start to feel like my healthy meal plan is slipping…I’ll start back up again. 

Last year, a weight loss study conducted by the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research found that participants who kept a food journal lost about twice as much weight compared to those that did not keep one- and not only that, but they sustained the weight loss.


For more information and tips on food journaling, visit WebMD.

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