Last week we talked about why you should, no, why you MUST write down your goals in order to commit to them and ultimately accomplish them.
Well, it’s no different when it comes to one of the most important aspects of health, fitness and weight loss – nutrition. whether you’re trying to lose or gain weight, or simply trying to make better eating choices, writing your food intake in a daily journal is absolutely essential.
I’ve personally trained hundreds of people over the years with all different fitness goals. I can tell you without hesitation that if there was one fundamental difference in those who had success in achieving those goals and those who came up short, it was that the successful group kept a food journal. Why is this so important?
The answer is that magic 6 syllable word…a-ccount-a-bil-i-ty. It’s way too easy to fake your way through a nutrition program and be dishonest with yourself if you’re not actually able to see and mentally absorb what you’re putting in your body every day. It’s only when you see the whole picture that you’re able to realize where you need to make changes.
Most times, you may think you’re only making small, inconsequential “slips” with your diet on occasion. But, once you’re able to look at the accumulation of those small slips over the course of a week or a month, the big picture can be astounding. And guess what? Only a food journal gives you this ability. Adding one to your fitness or weight loss plan will ultimately empower you to make the necessary nutritional changes to improve your body composition.
Does keeping a food journal sound like it’s too much work or take up too much time? If your answer is yes, you should really ask yourself just how important your ultimate goal is to you. Writing down your food intake doesn’t take any more than 5 minutes a day. And if you’re not willing to invest 5 minutes in your own health and fitness objectives, then go ahead and throw in the towel NOW, because you will not achieve them. Period.
I could sit here and tell you case after case of my personal clients’ experiences and how their weight loss successes depended on tracking their food intake, but I don’t want you to just take my word for it, let’s look at some real data.
There have been hundreds of research studies conducted on the subject that prove, without question, that keeping a food diary drastically increases weight loss. One of the largest studies ever conducted on the topic, which was administered by Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Health Research, showed that people who kept a food journal more than doubled the amount of weight loss than that of another group in the study that was not required to track over a 6 month period. In fact, the average weight loss for the group over the study was 13 lbs. per person, which included 1700 people. This study was published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, and if you’d like, you can read more about it here.
I could go on and on about what the research says, but the message is simple and clear. You must continue to have a vision of your goals and be able to consistently go back and look to see how well you’ve achieved the smaller steps along the way. Remember, you can’t hit a target that you can’t see, and if you can’t see the steps you’re taking toward your target, you will never know if you’re on a successful track.
Stay tuned for Part 3 next week. Keep reading and you’ll keep achieving!! And in case you missed part 1 from last week, you can catch up on it here.
Here’s to your success!
PS. Please tell us about your successes in goal setting from last week. If you already wrote your goals in the comments section of last week’s post, you’re a step ahead of the game! If not, here’s your second chance!