Fat loss continues to be one of the most popular topics in health and fitness and people are always looking for new ways to lose weight and improve the way they look. Companies are always promoting new and often untested products such as pills, powders, creams, exercise equipment, and diets to promote fat loss, but the vast majority of these things are marketing gimmicks that are rarely as effective as previously established methods for losing fat. One such proven method for increasing fat loss that often goes overlooked is nutritional journaling.
If you are unfamiliar with the concept of nutritional journaling, it is basically just writing down what you eat and drink throughout the day, although there are many different ways to go about keeping a nutrition journal. A journal can be very thorough or much more simplistic, but keeping virtually any type of nutrition journal should increase the amount of fat you lose.
It may not seem as though keeping track of what you eat and drink would significantly affect fat loss, but you can see how powerful nutritional journals are by taking a closer look at the most popular and enduring weight loss businesses. Most popular programs do not necessarily use a journal, but they generally use something to help you keep track of what you eat. This typically involves things like following a point system or eating pre-made meals that have specific calorie contents.
Regardless of what system is used, the real benefits come from making you keep track of what you eat and drink and not from some special characteristic of one particular system. Some people will certainly prefer one system over another, but the specific system is not really all that important. By tracking your eating and drinking habits, you become more aware of everything that you put into your body. As a result, your unconscious eating habits start becoming more conscious eating choices.
In other words, by keeping track of foods, calories, points, etc., you are actually increasing your awareness about how and what you eat. Many people have poor eating habits and they often don’t realize how much or how frequently they eat. By following this type of system, you can stop being a slave to poor eating habits and start making more conscious decisions about what you put into your body.
Fortunately, you don’t have to sign up for one of those programs, because you can get almost all the same benefits from keeping a nutritional journal on your own. A personal nutrition journal doesn’t have to contain every little detail about what you eat and drink, although a journal with more useful information generally results in greater fat loss over time. However, even a simple journal with very basic information may significantly improve your fat loss.
Just the act of writing down the items you eat and drink, along with the time you had them, will make you think more seriously about your nutritional choices. For instance, if you are supposed to be eating healthy and you find yourself writing down a lot of junk food or other empty calories, you will see how much you are straying from the way you are supposed to eat. Then the next time you start to have chips or cookies, you will probably think about having to write it down, which by itself may make you stop and choose something healthier or have a smaller portion instead.
Keeping this type of basic journal is very quick and easy and you do not need any special equipment. You can use a pen and paper, computer, iPhone, or whatever else works for you. The only thing is that you should write down what you eat/drink fairly soon afterwards, because if you wait too long, you may forget some things or the information will otherwise not be as accurate. The more accurate your information, the more it will help you.
If you are willing to put forth a little more effort with your nutritional journal, you can also use it to fine tune your nutrition program and further improve your overall health and fat loss over time. To get more out of your nutritional journal, I still recommend keeping track of what and when you eat and drink, but you will also have to look at more specific components of your food. At the minimum, you should keep track of total calories, calories from fat, calories from protein, calories from carbohydrates, and grams of fiber.
You can go further and break things down even more to include variables such as calories from sugar, calories from trans-fats, calories from saturated fat, etc. In these cases, the important thing is to have the information be in numerical form and have almost every category use the same type of measurement. For example, in the above categories, everything is broken down into number of calories per item/ingredient. You don’t have to use calories, but it is probably the easiest.
The issue is that much of this information will not originally be listed in terms of calories, but rather grams. The problem with grams is that all grams are not equal in terms of calories. For instance, one gram of carbohydrate or protein is about 4 calories, alcohol is 7 calories, and fat is 9 calories, so simply writing down everything in terms of grams does not really provide a clear picture of your overall nutritional intake. By converting everything into calories, you can easily compare your intake of each type of ingredient to find out what you need to add or what you should consume less.