Archive for the ‘Weight Loss Tracking’ Category

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Food Journal Essential to Successful Weight Loss

December 31, 2010

(Article first published as Food Journal is Key to New Year Weight Loss Success on Technorati.)

Ensure the Success of Your Weight Loss Resolution

Ensure the Success of Your Weight Loss Resolution

Millions of people struggle with weight loss each year and most will be unsuccessful in their goal. With the New Year almost upon us, many will yet again make a well-intended resolution to drop weight gained during the past year and reach their ideal weight range. Making the decision to lose weight is an important first step, yet 95% of those with the desire to drop pounds will fail because they don’t have the appropriate tools to accomplish the task.

Making a Plan to Lose Weight

The reason most weight loss programs don’t succeed is because there is no firm plan in place that will deliver the desired results. Many people rely on fad diets that exclude different food groups or rely on pills or other unnatural supplements that only work in the short term. In order to permanently lose weight, you must have a viable and demonstrated methodology in place. This includes a reduced calorie, well-balanced meal plan, regular physical activity and a way to keep track of your progress.

Keeping a Food Diary Helps Many Achieve Weight Loss Goal

Keep a Simple Food Journal and Update Daily

Keep a Simple Food Journal and Update Daily

The best laid plan to lose weight can quickly become unraveled the first time you make an inevitable dietary stumble. It’s been shown that dieters are much more likely to stay with a dietary regimen when they keep a food journal to track their daily progress.

After years of working with overweight and obese patients, weight loss management specialist Dr. Christopher J. Mosunic from Greenwich Hospital in Connecticut has found that people keeping track of daily food consumption in a journal are considerably more likely to remain with their plan and keep weight off for good. He provides essential tips from his experience to achieve successful weight loss using a food journal.

Tip 1: Keep Your Journal Simple

A Food Journal Helps You to Stay Focused on Weight Loss Success

A Food Journal Helps You to Stay Focused on Weight Loss Success

One of the keys to maintaining a good food journal is to keep your entries simple. If it becomes a burden to record your daily details you are much less likely to keep it up for the long run. One of the biggest mistakes is to rely on complex internet-based programs that over analyze data and can take a half hour or more each day to maintain.

Try using a simple journal that you keep by hand. Record the date, time and food eaten with quantity before each meal. Also include a simple detail of physical activity for each day including the type of exercise and duration.

Tip 2: Be Thorough, Don’t Cheat

It’s important to be responsible for every item you eat, including each handful of chips or piece of chocolate. Every item adds up, as between meal snacks and unrecorded food binges can make up 30 to 50% of your daily caloric intake.

Tip 3: Share Your Food Journal

A food journal is not like a personal dairy. You want people to be able to take a look and see your progress. It should be an accurate reflection of your personal journey to achieve a very special goal, and you should be proud to share your accomplishments with family and friends.

After you have charted your food and fitness progress for 30 days, you will be able to quickly see the reasons for success or failure. If you are losing weight more or less than the recommended 1 to 2 pounds per week, you will need to adjust calories and physical activity up or down to compensate. Once you have made the resolution to lose weight, ensure your success by maintaining a daily food journal.

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Six Tips to Drive New Year Weight Loss

December 22, 2010

(Article first published as Six Tips to Jump Start Your New Year Weight Loss Resolution on Technorati.)

Six Tips to Help with Weight Loss in the New Year

Six Tips to Help with Weight Loss in the New Year

As another year draws to a close, many people begin to think about making New Year Resolutions. As the number of overweight and obese individuals continues to skyrocket in epidemic proportions, many resolutions will evolve around the pursuit of an elusive weight loss goal. Reducing calories and exercising more are well known strategies to pursue. In addition, nutrition experts at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have compiled the top research-based weight loss tips designed to help you jump start your new journey to a slimmer waistline.

Tip 1: Keep Moving Each Day

Plan 30 - 60 Minutes of Physical Activity Each Day

Plan 30 - 60 Minutes of Physical Activity Each Day

Research confirms that physical activity is essential to human health and is also an important catalyst in your weight loss efforts. Exercise doesn’t have to be in the form of a grueling 5 mile run or lifting heavy free weights. The key to using exercise to fuel your weight loss efforts is that you need to do something to stay moving each day.

Set 30 to 60 minutes aside each day for some type of aerobic or resistance activity. The best part is that your time can be broken down into convenient 10 or 15 minute segments and you’ll still receive the same health and weight loss benefits.

Tip 2: Keep a Detailed Food and Exercise Journal

This may be one of the most important tips that many people on a weight loss mission fail to undertake. Keep a detailed record of each bite of food and drink, including the time and amount consumed. Don’t cheat. Record every food item including between meals snacks and sneaking a bite of your favorite chocolate bar. Write down your physical activity also, including type of exercise and the duration of each segment during the day. Many people are amazed to find out the number of calories eaten outside of normal meal time.

Tip 3: Set Realistic Goals

Often in our zest to reach an imaginary weight goal, we set an unrealistic target and timeframe. When it becomes clear that the goal can’t be met, our best intentions are forgotten and any lost weight returns with a few extra pounds to discourage us from trying again. Permanent weight loss must be accomplished slowly, with a plan to drop no more than 1 to 2 pounds per week. This allows our body time to adjust naturally and make the necessary metabolic changes to maintain our lower weight.

Tip 4: Set Specific Goals

Set Specific and Realistic Goals to Fuel Your Success

Set Specific and Realistic Goals to Fuel Your Success

Make a plan to achieve your weight loss goal. Chart your day to include 3 well balanced meals and develop a calorie controlled menu that will allow you to hit your target. Schedule physical activity at a specific time as you would a business appointment. Avoid generalizations about diet and exercise, and be specific with regard to intent and end result.

Tip 5: Allow Yourself Room for an Occasional Slip

Everybody is human and inevitably you will make a small slip in your dietary plan. Fortunately your body is very forgiving and does not assess caloric intake for a single meal or even an entire day. Allow yourself an occasional treat when you really need it to keep yourself moving forward toward your weight loss goal.

Tip 6: Take Up Yoga

There’s more to yoga than just burning calories through physical activity. Researchers from the Hutchinson Cancer Center have “found that regular yoga practice is associated with the prevention of middle-age spread in normal-weight people and the promotion of weight loss in those who are overweight.” Yoga practice leads to mindful eating and healthy weight loss.

The New Year is approaching quickly and health conscious people will be thinking about losing weight gained during the past year. The best way to drop excess pounds is make a structured plan and set appropriate goals that will help you reach your weight target and improve your health and quality of life.

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Food Diary Shown to Double Weight Loss Success

November 12, 2010

(Article first published as Food Diary Shown to Double Successful Weight Loss Efforts on Technorati.)

Most People Can't Accurately Gauge Calories and Portion Sizes

Most People Can't Accurately Gauge Calories and Portion Sizes

If you were to ask anyone who is trying to lose weight how many calories they eat each day or how long they spend exercising, chances are overwhelming that the answer would be grossly underestimated. People are very poor judges of calorie count or portion size when working toward a weight loss goal.

Most will indicate they eat very little when in reality they are taking in 20 to 40% more calories than anticipated, more than enough to sabotage their efforts. Another common mistake is the belief that since they are exercising regularly, they can consume more to compensate. The only way you can accurately gauge caloric intake and energy expenditure is to keep a daily log or journal to prevent excess calories and ensure successful weight loss.

Keeping a Food Journal Can Double Weight Loss

Record All Foods Eaten Before Consumption

Record All Foods Eaten Before Consumption

The results of a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine demonstrates that despite our best intentions, most people grossly underestimate portion sizes and calories eaten when they don’t measure their food. The researchers found that the more detailed food records that were kept by study participants, the more weight they lost. Those with the most meticulous recordkeeping lost twice as much as those who kept no track at all. And they were able to keep the weight off as long as they continued to record in their journal.

Keeping an Accurate Food Log: Be Honest With Yourself

Snacking Quickly Adds on the Calories

Snacking Quickly Adds on the Calories

It isn’t that people are trying to be dishonest with food tracking, as they are only hurting themselves. The problem is we like to snack between meals or grab a few jelly beans, a small piece of chocolate or a sugary power drink with the thought it won’t make a difference. Those calories add up and at the end of the day you could be adding several hundred calories to you total. Keeping a handy journal where you record every bite of food before it goes in your mouth can help you stay on track. Here’s why:

Provides a True Understanding of Portions and Calories: When you’re forced to account for every calorie you eat, you quickly gain an understanding of portion sizes and the type of foods that pack on the calories (processed snacks, baked treats and fried foods), compared to fresh vegetables that you can eat in almost unlimited quantities.

Record Your Food Before You Eat: The most important part of the program is to always record the food or drink and portion size before you consume it. This will give your mind the time to understand the caloric impact of your food choice and possibly you’ll decide that you don’t need to eat now and can wait until your next meal.

Remove the Emotional Element of Eating: We all eat for different reasons. Some people are emotional eaters, while others use food as a social event to entertain or maintain a family unit. These occasions are a guarantee that you’ll overeat if you don’t record your food ahead of time. Plan your meal before the event or meal begins and stick to your plan.

Failure to properly plan and record your menu can derail your best weight loss intentions. We frequently underestimate portion size and the total calorie count of a given food item or meal. Measuring or weighing all foods is critical to achieving your weight loss target. You can double the results of your efforts and keep the weight off permanently by keeping a daily food journal.

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Setting Weight Loss Goals, Tracking Progress

September 28, 2010

(Article first published as Setting Goals for Weight Loss Success, Tracking Your Progress on Technorati.)

Setting a Realistic Goal is Key to Weight Loss

Setting a Realistic Goal is Key to Weight Loss

Many people embark on a weight loss program without a firm understanding of their realistic goal or the exact plan that will help them cross the finish line to weight loss success. Similar to any journey through uncharted territory you may make, the key to your weight loss success is to establish a realistic goal which you can maintain as part of your new healthy lifestyle. The power of positive thinking combined with the reinforcement you receive from tracking your progress each day provide the fuel you need to accomplish your goal.

Maintain a Positive Attitude

Maintain a Positive Attitude to Keep on Track

Maintain a Positive Attitude to Keep on Track

Regardless of the task you wish to accomplish in life a positive attitude is critical to achieve the desired result. You must begin by believing that the weight loss task you are about the begin will have a significant impact on your health and longevity, as research has shown that losing just 5 – 10% of your body weight can significantly lower your risk of disease. You should only begin your journey when you feel fully committed to finish, regardless of the inevitable bumps you’ll encounter along the way.

Defining a Realistic Goal

Once your mind is set you’ll need to put together a realistic plan and goal that will successfully lead you to the finish line and monitor your progress for encouragement along the way. The most important part of goal setting is to make sure that your target weight is attainable. Don’t feel you need to weigh the same as when you were 18. Many things change in your body over the years, and often people find they feel great and experience optimal health at a weight which about 10% higher than the lowest weight from your college years.

Monitoring Your Progress

Of equal importance to setting a realistic goal and positive attitude is tracking your daily progress with nutritional software or a food journal. The positive reinforcement you receive from monitoring your weight, exercise and food will help you to get by an occasional rough day where you stray from your diet or when you hit a weight plateau.

The results of a study published in the eHealth Journal of Medical Internet Research found that participants who recorded and tracked their progress using an online software interface were significantly more likely to stay with a weight loss plan and maintain their weight loss compared to those who didn’t monitor their progress. By nature, we’re goal oriented and a journal helps keep us focused on reaching a pre-established goal.

Write Your Plan on Paper

Track Your Progress and Plan in Writing

Track Your Progress and Plan in Writing

Before you start on your weight loss journey, write down the steps you’ll need to follow to hit your goal and the benefits to your health from meeting your target weight. Include diet, menus, exercise and how you will fit work, family and friends into your program. Make a list of the numerous health benefits such as improving heart health, improving immunity, increasing brain power, feeling great and the knowledge that you are lowering your risk of an early death.

The only way to successfully lose weight is to properly plan the steps you’ll need to hit your target goal and track your progress. Without these commitments, you’ll quickly veer off course the first time you reach a weight plateau or succumb to a sugary treat. By having your whole plan detailed in writing ahead of time, you can easily continue to reinforce your new lifestyle which will lead to vibrant health and your ideal weight.