A recent study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine reports that keeping a food diary may be a key to losing extra weight. The study found that food diaries incorporate accountability and awareness, which can help immensely with successful weight reduction.

The study, published in the Journal, includes findings from 1,685 overweight or obese adults, ages 25 years and older. These people were encouraged to keep and use food diaries for a period of six months (while making healthy food choices and being physically active). These participants also met in weekly groups to share their food diaries and to learn more about proper food portions.

According to Victor Stevens, PhD, senior investigator at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon, the most important predictor over the course of the study in regard to how successful participants would be corresponded directly to how many days a week they kept a detailed food diary .

Participants who recorded all meals and snacks at least six days a week (including beverages) lost almost twice as much as those who made food diary entries one day a week or less, Stevens recently reported to WebMD.

Said Stevens, “I think the most powerful part is accountability and the next most powerful part is increasing awareness of where those extra calories are coming from.”

Further findings showed that sharing food diaries with someone else brought about even more success. This is because sharing food diaries creates accountability not only to yourself, but also to someone who cares about you and your health. Food diaries can also identify areas for improvement. For example, you might notice you’re eating too many late night snacks or adding too many calories to a certain meal.

Even keeping track of an accidental binge or overeating on one day of the week can help. When you weigh yourself, you will be reminded of where you might have gone off course. Although initially a bummer, this will show you why the scale didn’t necessarily go in the direction you wanted and can help you realign your efforts for more success the next time you weigh yourself.

Keeping a food diary on the Just Stop! Program is easy – and something we all should do. Not only will you find a blank weekly food diary tailor made for the Just Stop! Program in the book itself (see page 75), but you can also easily download a PDF for easy printing by clicking here. If you’re on another healthy eating program and are interested in a food diary form you can use, click here.

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