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September 21st, 2016

Living on F-Factor: To journal or not to journal….

You asked, we listened. Follower question of the week.

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Q: Why do I need to journal? 

A:  Dear (Food) Diary… All of our clients are required to keep a daily food journal, and it is quite common for clients to neglect this part of the program.  They are “too busy,” or forget or simply think that it isn’t important.  That what counts is how closely they follow the diet, not what they write down as what they consumed.

The “lack of time” excuse just doesn’t wash, and I always explain that they can put the information right into their phone, it only takes five minutes a day and it needs to become a habit.

So, why are we so adamant that they need to keep a journal?

  1. We can only do a fraction of our job without being able to see what is being consumed on a daily basis. The dietitian looks at her client’s daily journals and does a net carb, calorie and nutrient analysis to ensure the client is on track.  Journaling is, in fact, the only way we can identify any issues impeding progress and fix them.  Because the program isn’t one-size-fits all, we need to determine what works best for each individual client.
  2. When a client has to write down everything he or she is eating they are less likely to stray from the plan. There it is, in black and white. And it becomes clear that if they cheat, they are only cheating themselves.
  3. Last, it is important for clients to be accountable for themselves. Looking back at their journal pages from the last week is a way of taking responsibility and choosing consciously to put their health as a priority.

And this isn’t just anecdotal.  The value of keeping a food journal is backed by research.  A study published in the Journal of Preventative Medicine looked at nearly 1,700 subjects and concluded that those who kept food records lost twice as much weight as those that kept no records.

For all of the above reasons it is clear why taking the time out to journal the food you eat daily is important, and the clients who get into the habit of journaling are usually more successful than the ones who do not.

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