Weight Loss Unmasked: A five part series looking deeper at why we struggle with losing weight
By: Briana Boehmer
There is that saying…how does it go? Oh yes, “KNOWLEDGE IS POWER”. Of course, there’s also that little saying “ignorance is bliss,” but I’ll argue there’s nothing “blissful” about living in an unhealthy body.
In an extensive weight loss study, conducted by the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, the single greatest factor in weight loss shown by the 1,685 overweight and obese subjects studied was the number of days they logged their food in a journal each week. Yep, you got it – Journaling was more important than regular meetings or even how overweight a subject was to start. Subjects that logged their food 6 days per week lost twice as much weight as those who did not keep a food journal. Certainly we can infer many reasons for this result, but researchers have found we just don’t realize how much we are eating! Even when asking a degreed health professional or dietician, researchers have found they too underestimate calorie values!
Let me add one more twist: All calories were not created equal. Sure, a calorie is a calorie in the strict sense of the energy it contains. However, how your body processes and utilizes carbohydrates, protein and fat vary greatly. I will not go into different ways calories were not created equal just yet (you’ll just have to wait for the next installment!), but the point I do want to make now is that journaling will help you better balance the calories you are consuming. Your body has distinct needs for all three macronutrients based on your own personal health and activity level. Deficiencies or over consumption of any one macronutrient in many cases can have real consequences.
So what are the keys to journaling?
Consistency – Make it a habit. You benefit most from journaling when you do it day after day. An easy way to make it easier on yourself – journal throughout the day! As soon as you eat something, take note. 411Fit’s mobile site makes logging your nutrition on the fly very easy.
Understanding portion sizes - Start at home by measuring what you are eating so that you have a better understanding of what a cup etc. is. For a running start on understanding how to identify portion sizes, we like this WebMD interactive portion size plate: http://www.webmd.com/diet/healthtool-portion-size-plate
Don’t skip “indulgences” – Be honest with what you are eating. If you have a “bad day” or go out to eat, do your best to write down everything you can. The only way you learn is through awareness of your habits!
411Fit has worked very hard to create a food journal with a purpose to help with this critical component of healthy lifestyle changes. When you go into 411Fit you have the ability to set your own personal parameters for calories (weight loss), macronutrients, hydration, exercise, health measurements and goals. You then have your own personal grade each day that specifically matches what you are doing against what you told the system you WANT to do. The closer to an A you are, the closer you are to the goals you set in the system. With regards to journaling your nutrition, the grade alone is an easy way for you to see how “on track” you are. That is YOUR grade! Pretty cool stuff if we say so ourselves!
Whether you use a tool like 411Fit or simply a scrap of paper, start journaling what you are eating NOW! You will be amazed at what this simple act will teach you about your health.
Read Part 1: You Have to EAT to Lose Weight by clicking here.