For anyone looking to shape up, hitting the gym is only part of the answer – diet is a big part of the equation. As the old saying goes: “you can’t out train a bad diet”.
But fixing up what you put into your body is easier said than done.
Fortunately, there’s a pretty easy way to kick-start the process – keeping a food diary.
It may sound like a pain in the backside, but the reality is that keeping a food diary doesn’t require much effort at all. All you need is a notebook and pen.
Furthermore, it has been scientifically proven that keeping a food diary can actually double weight loss, according to a 2008 study by Kaiser Permanente’s Centre for Health Research.
Considered one of the largest and longest running weight loss maintenance trials ever, the study turned up some interesting results.
“The more food records people kept, the more weight they lost,” lead author Jack Hollis said.
“Those who kept daily food records lost twice as much weight as those who kept no records. It seems that the simple act of writing down what you eat encourages people to consume fewer calories.”
Even if you aren’t the diary type, the simple act of jotting down what you have consumed on a scrap of paper or making a note on your mobile is a good enough place to start.
Just taking time to reflect on what you have eaten that day is a good way to get on top of any bad habits. Then you can start work on keeping them under control.
And it’s not just beneficial for people losing weight – it can also be a useful tool for people trying to bulk up or simply maintain a body shape.
If you want to take it to the next level and start tracking how many calories you are consuming, or the ratio of macronutrients in your daily diet, then there are a number of apps such as MyFitnessPal which can help you on your way.
But beware – it can easily become an obsession.
Try and stay balanced in your approach. Simply use the technique to help you think about what you are putting in your body rather than live your life counting calories.
Have you ever tried keeping a food diary?