Writing down what you eat, when you eat it is the single best predictor of success in weight loss. New research proves again that the single most important thing you can do to be successful at weight loss is monitoring and recording your food intake throughout the day. “Write it when you bite it.”
The research shows that logging your food after you eat it along with knowing your weight is hands-down the best way to lose weight and keep it off.
This research also found that it wasn’t the ‘type’ of diet or meal plan you follow but the consistency of logging your food when you eat it and daily recording your weight (they used an app) was the key to long term weight loss.
Some may groan, some may resist. Dietary monitoring is generally looked at as tedious, unpleasant, time consuming and difficult to master the will power and discipline to do it. People will happily log exercise, water and sleep but feel as though logging food is a struggle. But it matters and it only takes a few minutes per day to do it.
Just think- diligently recording can help you lose 10% of your body weight in just 6 months!
The surprise news? It only takes a little less than 15 minutes per day to do it.
15 minutes, that’s it. That’s the amount of time it the studies show that it takes each day to log in and enter your food data on an app.
And another good news tidbit- success is not in the details. It’s not how detailed you are when logging the food that you ate, it’s not about how long it takes you or how precise you are. It’s only about the frequency of logging in and recording what you ate. Write it when you bite it.
The research indicated: “Those who self-monitored three or more time per day, and were consistent day after day, were the most successful. It seems to be the act of self-monitoring itself that makes the difference — not the time spent or the details included.”
2 key elements were receiving broad based ‘healthy eating’ education and setting specific goals.
What exactly would describe Healthy Eating?
It’s not as hard or complicated as you may think. Healthy eating begins with small steps. Small steps, over time will give you results.
Here are some great guidelines (HHS.gov) that are broad based and can be used as a general roadmap.
Step 1. Eat more fruits and vegetables every day. The USDA’s Dietary Guidelines recommend that you eat a minimum of 5 to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables EVERY day depending on your age, gender, physical activity, and overall health. The more you eat, the better chance you have of living a healthy life and losing weight. Go for a rainbow each and every day- red, orange, yellow, green, blue purple! Make at least half of each plate at every meal full of vegetables and use fruit for dessert or snacks.
Step 2: Switch to whole grains and sprouted grains. Ditch the white pasta, white rice, white bread. Read the labels and look for the words like Whole Grains, Whole Wheat, Brown Rice, Sprouted Grains, Buckwheat, Oatmeal, Quinoa, Bulgur.
Step 3: Go with fat-free or low-fat dairy: Switching to low-fat or fat free versions of dairy products lowers your saturated fat intake and overall caloric intake. Many people who are sensitive to dairy also have a wide variety of plant-based milks like unsweetened almond, coconut or soy ‘milks’ yogurts and cheeses which are also very low in fat and a great alternative.
Step 4: Eat more lean protein: Ditch any and all processed meats which are loaded with sodium, fat and nitrates. Choose lean cuts of beef (90% lean or better), poultry (chicken, turkey) seafood, beans, peas, seeds and nuts and eggs. Have a protein at each meal! Eating sufficient protein is critical to weight loss- protein keeps you full and reduces cravings for high carb, sugary foods. Think of protein as the ‘building blocks’ of your body- it is used to make muscles, tendons, your skin, your organs as well as hormones, neurotransmitters and so many other vital functions in the body.
Step 5: Eat Fish twice a week: Wild caught salmon, tuna, trout, as well as shellfish- shrimp, lobster, crab, mussels, oysters, clams, oysters and scallops. Seafood is an excellent source of protein (Step 4) as well as vital minerals and omega-3 fatty acids which is a very heart-healthy fat. Eat at least eight ounces a week of a variety of seafood.
Step 6: Drink water: Drink half your body weight in fluid ounces every day. This is a non-negotiable health habit. Ditch the sugary soda, fruit juices, and sugared ice tea products. Diet soda has also been shown to increase your risk of stroke and dementia and alter your gut bacteria in such a way as to increase your insulin production and glucose metabolism which leads to higher blood sugar and weight gain.
Step 7: Watch Sodium intake: Most people eat too much sodium and it doesn’t come from a salt shaker. It’s hidden in processed foods, restaurant foods, bottled and canned foods. To be clear, sodium is an essential nutrient and we need it in small amounts to help our keep muscles and nerves and even our heart running smoothly. If you have high blood pressure or even elevated blood pressure however, you must be very attuned to how much sodium you are taking in. The Dietary Guidelines suggest no more than 2300 mg per day for most people and no more than 1500 mg for those with high blood pressure. Read the label.
Step 8: Eat more Good Fat and less of the “Bad Fats”: Healthy fats are an important part of a healthier diet – healthy fats supply your body with energy, essential fatty acids and they help you absorb certain vitamins from your food (fat soluble vitamins like Vitamin A, D, E and K) however, certain fats like saturated and hydrogenated or trans fats can increase your risk of heart disease. Hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated, trans fats, saturated fats can all fall into the category of “Bad Fats”. They hide in baked goods- cookies, cakes, pies, desserts, ice cream, high-fat dairy, processed foods, processed and high fat cuts of meats. Eat healthy fats that come from vegetable and raw nut sources- Avocados, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Seed oils, walnuts, nuts, seeds as well as Omega 3 Fatty Acids from certain fatty fish (wild caught salmon, tuna, mackerel) are all healthy sources of good fats.
Keep these guidelines in mind as you choose your daily meals, then use your Rolling Strong App to log your food. Work with your Rolling Strong Coach to set SMART goals for yourself- Smart Goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time -Bound. Some people even say that goals should be SMART(ER) with the ER meaning your goals should be Evaluated and Reviewed. That’s why working with a health coach can be so helpful. A Health Coach doesn’t ‘tell you’ what to do, they educated and then help you reach your goals and keep you on track!
Know your numbers– get a health check with your Rolling Strong Coach or stop at a Higi and get a check. (The Rolling Strong App even connects to the Higi station for your health stats and information to keep you on track.)
Take 15 minutes and log your food after every meal! Log your food when you eat it, weigh in, know your numbers. All of these tools lead to weight-loss success. The Rolling Strong App makes it easy to do. Just look under the Nutrition area. With your Rolling Strong App on your smartphone, you have all the tools that you need for successful weight loss.
By: Cindy Luisi, WHE, WHC, CCP, CDL Wellness Coach