How a Food Diary Can Help You Lose Weight

Calorie tracking websites and apps are hugely popular – many people will go to meticulous lengths to log their calorie consumption. That doesn’t jive with the Healthy Enough approach though. Fastidiously tracking calorie consumption is far too time consuming (and not particularly accurate). However, simply tracking what you eat is easy enough to do, and can make a huge difference to your weight loss efforts.

A 2008 study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine observed 1,685 participants – all on calorie-restricted diets. The average weight loss per person after twenty weeks was 13lbs. But here’s the kicker: those who logged what they ate lost an average of 18lbs, compared to an average 9lbs for those who didn’t. By virtue of increased awareness, those who kept food diaries managed to lose twice as much weight.

The takeaway is this: you should probably be keeping a food diary. Don’t worry about the calories – just the simple act of writing down the meals and snacks you eat will increase your awareness of what you’re eating and aid you in your weight loss efforts.

I’m deliberately not linking to any online food diary apps here as they are typically bloated and tempt you to start tracking everything from calories to macronutrients. Instead, I advocate a simple approach to food logging: just use a text file, spreadsheet, or just paper and pen. If you want to stay electronic and link sync your data across devices, I recommend Evernote.