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Keeping Track to Make an Impact

By Cristie Ballow, RD, LD, Cooper Clinic Nutrition Department

If weight loss is one of your goals this year, let this be the year you do it right and for good. Believe it or not, weight loss success starts with keeping a food journal. This process requires you to write down everything you eat or drink throughout the day and night.

If you want to successfully shed pounds, relying on your memory to give you an adequate diet recall is the wrong approach. Many of us forget what we have eaten from one meal to the next. A more accurate measure for dietary intake is to record all the foods you have eaten in a food journal, this eliminates the “What Did I Eat?” guessing game.

Research reflects even the best-intended subjects remember only 50-80 percent of the food they eat. To take your food log one step further, health professionals recommend measuring portion size and recording your dietary intake immediately after eating.

USA Today article from July 2008, reported results from numerous research studies in which participants who kept daily food journals at least six days a week DOUBLED weight loss in comparison to individuals who did not keep food journals. That is a big deal when we are talking about weight loss.

Thanks to technology, we no longer have to rely on pen and paper as our record keeping system, we now have convenient hand held devices that can record this information. If you have an iPhone or Blackberry, keeping track of your calories on the go is a cinch. Both provide applications that you can download (often free) that allow you to access nutritional information and calorie counts. With the iPhone Lose it! application and BlackBerry Calorie Counter by FatSecret application, tracking calorie consumption is easier and more convenient.

iPhone Lose it! allows you to set goals and establish a daily calorie budget to help you meet your personal goals. Enter food and portion sizes via searchable database, including hundreds of brand-name products. Lose it! also provides the nutrient information of each food by tracking daily fat, saturated fat, protein, cholesterol, carbohydrate, and fiber intake. To help monitor your progress, a graph will reflect weight loss over time in reference to your daily and weekly caloric intake.

Calorie Counter by FatSecret is a Blackberry phone application that also enables you to keep track of your food intake, exercise, and weight. This calorie counter provides you with these tools for success:

A food quick pick to get calorie and nutrition information A food diary to plan and keep track of what you are eating An exercise diary to record all the calories you burn A weight chart A journal to record your progress Permanent lifestyle change begins with accountability. Put yourself in a position where you are mindful and aware of your choices. Keeping a food journal is a helpful tool and the best way to monitor every crumb, morsel, nibble, sip, swallow and bit you eat.

For more information on Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services visit our website or call 972.560.2667.

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