Want to Lose Weight for the Long Haul? Start Writing!


For most of my life, calories never crossed my mind—and counting calories was an even more foreign concept to me! Of course, I knew that I was eating fattening foods (my clothes were snug!), but I didn’t realize just how quickly all of those calories added up. Before I knew it, more than 20 pounds piled on to my small frame. I wanted to lose weight once and for all, so I bucked up, took some responsibility, and picked up my pen. I quickly learned, though, that it wasn’t that easy!

Keep a food journal
I halfheartedly kept a paper-and-pen food journal, but I never lasted more than a few days at a time. It was time-consuming and inconvenient to continuously calculate all of those calories, so hundreds of them often went unaccounted for each day. Plus I wasn’t completely honest with myself, but just because I wasn’t writing down the 10 Hershey Kisses I ate didn’t mean they weren’t eventually going to show up on my hips.

I had pretty much given up all hope on keeping a food journal to lose weight until a friend told me about Fitday.com, a free online weight-loss journal that tracks calories, exercise, goals, and progress. It made food journaling easy; the program did all of the math work, so there were fewer excuses for me not to use it—and fewer ways to fudge the numbers. I still had to make the effort to account for those Hershey’s kisses even though I didn’t want to, though.



Tracking what I ate every day changed my thinking about what I was putting into my mouth—and how it was affecting my hunger later. Eventually I started making better choices. For instance, I realized that calorie-wise, my breakfasts were much too small, which often lead me to overeat at lunch and sometimes dinner too. Filling out my serving estimates on Fitday also helped me realize that I underestimated my portion sizes. Even though I was eating mostly nutritious foods, I was serving myself way too much. So I began using measuring cups at home to learn how to identify a healthy portion size.



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