When it comes to health, nutrition and fitness, losing weight is number one on the list when it comes to goals. If someone told you that you could double your weight loss just by doing this one thing, would you do it? One thing could be jumping off a cliff or running a marothon. Most people woudl be willing to do either of those just to lose weight. Keeping track of your daily consumption through food jounaling is not life threatening or anything like what a marothon would do to your body. This article will help you realize that inputting this change can and will help you acheive your weight loss and fitness goals.
It is important to realize that writing in a nutritional journal, keeping up with it online or on your phone does not have to be a life-long process. You have to view journaling as a means to an end. You have a goal and you doing this is just one of the steps you need to take to reach or accomplish that goal.
It is good to know why journaling is beneficial to losing weight or helping you achieving your weight loss goals. Here are a few benefits to writing and journaling your calories in a journal, online, or with your phone. Here are a few reason or benefits to writing or having a food journal and using it as a means to reach yoru health and fitness goals.
1. Allows you to monitor how many calories you are consuming. Most people know that you need to consume fewer calories than your body burns in order to lose weight. The nutritional journal will help you monitor just how much you are consuming each day which will help you make the changes you need to lower your intake.
2. Helps you control the urge to overeat. – Many people who we talk to who journal have said this benefit of nutritional journal is key. Your actions change when you know you have to journal that you 2 pieces of garlic bread or you went through the buffet line again. This helps you not binge or overeat those times when you think you need to. Knowing you will be writing down EVERYTHING in your nutritional journal will help those urges to eat one more chip, one more Hershey kiss, one more bit of desert.
3. Encourages you to make better food choices. Most people don’t think about the calories that are in the foods that choose. This is very evident with restaurants and the amount of calories people are consuming in one sitting while eating out. Having to write down you had a bag of chips and salsa at On The Border that has about 1200 calories may help you realize it may not be worth it to have the chips. Writing in a food journal will help you pay more attention to the foods you are eating.
4. Helps you realize how much you really eat! It is a eye opener to know how many calories you are really consuming after starting to journal the calories you are consuming. A nutritional food journal will allow you to take a good look at the amount of calories you are putting in your body and help you realize it is too much. Once you realize this, you can make the changes that you need to make to see results. Knowing that you are trying to eat healthy when meeting a friend for lunch and it still comes out to 800-1000 calories will be a shock.
5. Shows how committed you are in getting the results. We all know that it is tough to do anything positive. Telling friends and family that you have given up sweets or that you only drink water now can sometimes leave them with crazy comments or looking at you like you have lost your mind. Choosing to journal is just another sign of your commitment to make a positive change and in doing so, you know that you are doing the steps you need to do to reach your weight loss goals. Each time you write something down in your food journal, online, or in your phone, you are telling yourself that you are willing to do what it takes to achieve your goals.
6. Allows you to track your progress. – Many of our boot camp participants start our program with little knowledge of what, when and how to eat. Having a food journal will allow you to look back and see how far you have come in your journey. A nutritional journal can help you see how healthier you are eating today than you did when you started. This can be very encouraging for them but it can also be used to help spread that encouragement to someone else that may be looking to change, lose weight, and get healthier.
7. You can get help from a health care professional (personal trainer, nutritionist, doctor, etc). Maybe you feel like you are doing all the right things but are not getting the weight loss results you want. Having a food journal with what you have been eating will allow a professional to take a look at your journal and help you make the changes you need to make.
8. Allows you to make a connection between the foods you eat and how you feel. Writing in a food journal helps you learn what foods help you feel good and what foods make you drowsy or tired. You can also use it to see if a particular food triggers overeating. This can help you identify any certain type of foods or drink that you may need to eat more of or eat less on depending on how it made you feel.
9. Helps you make sure you are eating a well-balanced diet. The Get You in Shape program really stresses how important it is to eat a well-balance diet. This is making sure you are getting a blend of proteins, carbs, and good fats into your diet. A food journal can provide concrete evidence and help you decide if you really are eating a well-balanced diet.
10. Encourages you to use your brain. You will need to take some time to search for the calories in the foods you are consuming. You will be amazed at how many calories you consume when you eat out compared to cooking your own food. You will be amazed writing down what you eat encourages you to think about what you are eating. Using a food journal will take some time but the time you take you will be learning and using your brain. Once you learn it, it will become easier and easier to track your foods.
Now that you know the benefits of using a nutritional journal, we will now help you learn how to use the journal.
How to use a nutritional journal.
1. Write down WHAT time you ate. Focus on eating something every 2 and 1/2 to 3 hours which will help keep your metabolism up throughout the day.
2. Write down EVERYTHING you eat and drink. This includes EVERYTHING. You will also count the calories in EVERYTHING. THis include the half cookie you ate in the break room that adds another 75 calories to your daily calories. This includes the glass of wine you had when you got home from work. It all adds up!
You will need to use a book or a website to track the calories. You can find how many calories are in foods and drinks on a few of the websites below. If you prefer not use an actual journal and would rather use a website or your phone, there are MANY food tracking websites and even SmartPhone applications. We suggest you do your own searching but here are some of the ones we have found to be good. Some of these websites are:
www.livestrong.com (Blackberry & iPhone)
www.fatsecret.com (Google Phone)
Each day you will count up all the calories consumed. The next step is to make sure you are consuming less calories than what your body burns each day to lose weight.
3. Learn how many calories you should be consuming eat day to lose weight. The first step to determine how many calories you need to maintain your current weight and then try to consume 300-500 grams less per day. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/calorie-calculator/NU00598 is one of many website that can give you this number. Each person’s daily caloric need varies depending on gender, weight, height, and level of physical activity. An easy way to start is by only cutting your calories by 300 and also exercising an extra 200 calories a day to burn 500 calories a day. By doing this, you will be burning 3,500 calories a week or one pound of body fat per week. It is recommended that no more than 2 pounds or 7,000 calories be lost per week for long term weight loss and maintenance.
Written by: Brad Linder
Brad Linder is the owner of www.GetYouInShape.com , a fitness company in the Dallas and Coppell, TX
area. The Dallas Boot Camp, Coppell Boot Camps, Personal Training, and their 24
Day Challenge, make Get You In Shape one of the top fitness companies in the
Dallas, TX area. Visit www.GetYouInShape.com for more information.