Food Logging – A Powerful Weight Loss Tool
You may surprised by the fact that losing weight is not the main challenge for most people. Keeping it off is much more of a struggle. In fact, only a small percentage of those who lose at least 10 percent of their initial body weight manage to sustain their results.1 The remaining majority regain all of the weight lost within three to five years.2,3 This is likely due to the way many individuals go about losing weight – short-term, or fad diets. The issue with diets is that they tend to be a temporary fix and the eating rules are difficult to sustain. Although you lose weight initially, once you resume your old habits, the weight comes back and often more. It is simply unnatural to cut out whole food groups and drastically cut calories - our bodies will fight it. For you to lose weight and keep it off for good, you’ll have to adjust your food choices and activity level permanently. That means the changes you make should be something you can see yourself doing for the rest of your life. And they don’t have to be earth shattering. Perhaps you switch regular soda for diet and save 200 calories a day. And maybe you add a 15 minute walk twice a day and burn 200 more calories, but the bottom line is they’re doable for life. Remember, the only proven method to lose weight is to burn more calories than you take in, and research shows that different eating patterns, whether high-carb, low-carb, low-fat or high-fat, can all yield results as long as you burn more than you take in.4 Only you can determine what works best for you.
So how do you change or adjust your eating and activity habits? You must first be fully aware of your body’s needs and what you’re doing now – and you probably aren’t. Studies show that most people:
- Don’t know how much to eat to maintain their current weight
- Believe they eat less than they actually do
- Have no idea they take in extra calories in different situations
- Slowly gain 1-3 pounds a year during adulthood until they are overweight or obese
The solution to becoming aware of your food choices and how much you’re eating is to simply pay attention by tracking everything you consume. When you track what you eat, you can’t help but notice the types of foods you’re eating, the calories in those items, and how your choices affect your weight, appetite and energy levels. Your dotFIT online program shows you the number of calories you should eat daily to reach your goal, and by tracking your calories it becomes clear when you need to make an adjustment. Without knowing what and how much you’re eating – it’s difficult to make educated decisions. For example, if your daily calorie budget is 1,600 and you eat 1,000 for breakfast, you know you have 600 left for the rest of the day. At this point it’s clear that you’re probably eating too many calories at breakfast and it’s wise to adjust your food choices. You can adjust the portion size of that meal or the choose different foods that have fewer calories and hopefully more nutrients. Again, it’s your decision.
If you still need a reason to track your calories, here it is – you’ll get twice the results. A large study spanning almost 3 years showed that people who kept tabs of their daily food intake lost twice as much weight as those who didn’t.5 In this day and age where food is everywhere any time of day and in very large quantities, you can’t afford to be unconscious of your choices. By paying attention to portion sizes, calories and nutrients in foods, you become equipped with new knowledge and therefore, new power to reach and maintain your goals. It is true that knowledge is power, but only if you use that knowledge by taking action. Take action and start logging your food today.
 Wing R, Phelan S. Long-term weight loss maintenance. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005. 82(suppl):222S-5S
 Wadden TA, Phelan S. Behavioral assessment of the obese patient. In: Wadden TA, Stunkard AJ, eds. Handbook of obesity treatment. New York: Guilford Press, 2002;186-226.
 Dansinger ML, Tatsioni A, Wong JB, Chung M, Balk EM. Meta-analysis: the effect of dietary counseling for weight loss. Ann Intern Med. 2007 Jul 3;147(1):41-50. Review.
 Sacks FM, et. al. Comparison of weight loss diets of different compositions of fat, protein and carbohydrates. N Engl J Med. 2009. Feb 26;360(9):859-73.
 Svetkey LP. Comparison of strategies for sustaining weight loss: the weight loss maintenance randomized control trial. JAMA. 2008 Mar 12;299(10):1139-48.