Food Diary Benefits - POSTED ON: Feb 21, 2014
For the past 9 ½ years … every day … I have consistently logged all of my food intake into a food journal, using a computer software program. The use of this basic tool has been the foundation of my weight-loss and long term maintenance of that weight-loss.
Here's a recent post by Canadian obesity specialist, Dr. Yoni Freedhoff of WeightyMatters about the benefits of keeping a Food Diary.
"What if I told you that in just two minutes a day you can double your weight loss success? And, rest assured, those two minutes won’t be spent busting out painful sweat while a trainer yells at you, or over a hot stove cooking a gourmet vegan meal.
Instead, spend those two minutes keeping track of what you’re eating by tapping on a smartphone or scribbling in a journal. Studies have shown that the amount of weight you’re liable to lose in a weight-loss program will be double that if you undertook that same effort, but didn’t keep a food diary.
No, food diarizing isn’t exactly sexy, and no, it probably can’t be fairly described as a whole hoot of fun, but it sure is easy these days.
Back in 2004 when I started working with patients on weight management there were no smartphones and diaries were just that – paper diaries that required a person to not only jot down what they were eating, but also to spend real time flipping through other books that provided calorie listings.
Nowadays we’ve got it easy. There’s a wealth of apps that do all the heavy lifting for us and not having missed a day of food diarizing since May 7, 2011, I can tell you, two minutes a day might even be an exaggeration of the actual time and effort required in keeping one.
While food diaries don’t cause you to burn calories directly, they do play three crucial roles:
Firstly food diaries give you some sense of where you’re at. Thinking of calories as the currency of weight (or frankly whatever else you might want to track – points, carbs, etc.,) keeping a careful accounting of your spending will help you with their budgeting. It’s important here to note that it’s not about never spending your calories, but rather using your records to pick and choose which ones are truly worth it. Why waste your calories on foods you don’t adore?
Secondly food diaries become fabulous investigational tools. By tracking patterns of hunger, cravings or food intolerances, patterns can appear and then instead of focusing on trying to deal with the downstream problem of trying to will yourself away from the cookies, you can instead focus on those cookie craving’s upstream cause to nip them in the bud. Giving you an example from my life, I’ve learned that if I have a breakfast without at least 20 grams of protein I have much more difficulty with food cravings at night. By ensuring my breakfasts are well organized I don’t need to battle with my dietary demons at night.
Thirdly food diaries are what habits are made of. Behavior change is difficult and habit formation is lengthy. Forget about that nonsense of three weeks to form a habit, scientific studies would suggest that even the simplest of singular habits can take months or even years to establish. (For instance, one study aimed to measure the time it takes to develop the habit of drinking a daily glass of water which took some participants over eight months to master.)
No doubt improving one’s lifestyle is rarely simple and usually encompasses dozens of small changes. What’s truly required for new behaviors to become new habits is the act of consciously reminding yourself of those behaviors you’re hoping to change, and each and every time you tap a food into your food diary that’s precisely what you’ll be doing.
At the beginning, keeping a food diary might take as many as 10 minutes a day, however as you build up your personal foodscape’s database, the time required shrinks dramatically.
If weight’s your concern – or even if you’re simply looking to improve the healthfulness of your diet – don’t worry about how many hours you’ll need to spend exercising every week. Prioritize the mere moments you’ll need to spend diarizing each day as two minutes of daily effort for double the weight loss – well that’s an exceedingly fair price to pay."
No Goals? - POSTED ON: Feb 20, 2014
It’s Okay to Have No Goals and Want Nothing
by Dr. Amy Johnson, psychologist
The self-help culture tells us that we need a vision. A goal. A direction, if we want to end up somewhere. Without a direction or vision, how will we possibly know where to go? They tell us we’ll end up nowhere, fast.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Life is constantly unfolding. Things are always happening. Life moves you whether you think about it and plan for it or not, as you may have noticed.
Life is always occurring on your behalf, with absolutely no strategy or forethought needed.
It is perfectly okay to be in the flow of it rather than trying to control the flow of it.
It is a wonderful feeling to want nothing but what you already have.
You will not stay stuck where you are (as if that’s a bad thing). You will get pushed along with the current of life as you always have—plans and goals or not.
If you truly want something, you know it. That thing becomes your dream, wish, or goal on its own, naturally. You don’t ever have to brainstorm “Hmm, what would make me happy?” and then set that as a goal.
It shouldn’t be an exercise to decide what you want. If it is, I highly doubt you truly want those things.
Since I started doing the inside-out experiment a couple years ago, there’s been almost nothing I crave aside from what I already have. Having no goals and no burning desires might actually mean you’re content and enjoying the life you have.
That One Person - POSTED ON: Feb 15, 2014
The Habit Concept - POSTED ON: Feb 13, 2014
Habit formation is an important goal for behavior change interventions
because habitual behaviors are elicited automatically
and are therefore likely to be maintained.
All habits—no matter how large or small—have three components, according to neurological studies.
The two basic rules for forming a Habit are:
First, find a simple and obvious cue.
Second, clearly define the rewards.
According to Scientists, Habits are so powerful because they create neurological cravings. Most of the time, these cravings emerge so gradually that we’re not really aware they exist. But as our brains start to associate certain cues (a bakery box!) with certain rewards (yummy pastry!), a subconscious craving emerges. And so whenever we see the bakery box in the break room we start craving a pastry—even if, just moments before, we weren't hungry at all.
If you can identify the right cue and reward—and if you can create a sense of craving—you can establish almost any habit.
For the past six years I've been interested in the well-thought-out Habit concepts of The No S Diet, and at present, I am very focused on turning some specific Behaviors into Habits.
I believe achieving success in this area would be tremendously helpful to me in the areas of weight-loss and maintenance. Wouldn't it be great if I CRAVED the Eating BEHAVIORS that served to keep me a "normal" weight?
Although I'm finding this type of Habit formation quite difficult, I feel certain that it's possible. During the past nine-and-one-third years, I've succeeded at establishing the habit of tracking all of my food intake into a computer food journal every day. Now… if I can just do the same thing with several specific positive eating behaviors …….
The First Step - POSTED ON: Feb 10, 2014
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