New research shows that people who keep a journal were more likely to be successful at taking off pounds than those who didn’t. In fact the researchers say it’s the #1 piece of advice they’d offer people who are trying to lose weight.
To Weight Watchers members, this is not new news. It’s so 1970’s! Journaling, tracking, whatever you want to call it, has been a vital part of our program for years upon years.
When talking about journaling, it doesn’t matter if you use a pen and paper, a chisel and piece of rock, a Weight Watchers Tracker, the PointsPlus calculator, a phone app or eTools. What we stress is that our members self-monitor in a convenient way for them. All that means is that we keep track of what we eat, and not just in our heads.
When a member comes to our staff saying that they’re frustrated that they’re not losing weight, I can assure you that one of the first things our staff will ask is, “Are you tracking your PointsPlus values (or food).” Why? Because this task is that important!
Think back to the days (before Weight Watchers, of course) when you said that you were going to “watch what you ate” so you could lose weight. Whenever you weighed yourself and the number on the scale wasn’t to your liking, you would just shake your head and say, “But I’ve been so good. I’ve had cereal every morning, a salad everyday for lunch and didn’t go back for seconds at dinner.”
My questions to you would be: “What kind of cereal did you have? Did you use low-fat milk or regular milk? Did you do the infamous “free-pour” into the bowl?”
“And what about those salads you had during your break? Did you measure out the dressing (and dip your fork into it with each bite instead of pouring it on your salad)? Did you allow for the cheese, meat, croutons, egg and roll on-the-side? What did you drink?”
I’d apply the same questioning logic to dinner. “Sure, you might not have gone back for seconds but did you load up on vegetables and prepare your protein in a healthy way? Did you watch portion sizes? How much fat did you consume?”
If you were keeping track, you could answer all of these questions accurately and without hesitation. Then you could pinpoint exactly where you need to make improvements.
I can personally assure you that you can’t get away with winging-it if you want to lose weight and sustain that weight loss for any length of time. You’ve got to self-monitor. You’ve got to track.
I don’t care if you track in a high-tech way or do it with a crayon. I just want you to get in the habit of keeping an eye on you and what your hands put into your mouth. When you’re recording what you consume, be honest, consistent and thorough. Put it all down if you don’t, you’re only fooling yourself.
Remember, “if you bite it, write it!” You won’t be sorry, especially when you’ve reached your goal weight and maintain it!