Food Journals Can Jump Start Your Weight Loss

By CNN News Wire

Published 01/10 2014 06:39AM

Updated 01/10 2014 07:00AM

Experts say it takes at least 6 weeks to form a habit so we'll offer tips on how you can establish your own good habits to help lose weight and keep it off in the new year. 
Keeping a record of everything you eat and drink can jump start your weight loss journey. 

When she was in her forties, Charmaine Jackson's weight hit 260 pounds. She knew she had to control her emotional eating.  But how?  She found the answer by putting her diet into words.

"I started the food journaling and that's when the weight started to come off.  Because I had already started exercising a little bit and that sort of triggered the whole exercise, eating, trying to sleep more," Jackson explains.

Jackson has been keeping a daily food record for six years.  130 pounds lighter, she has no plans of stopping.

But you don't have to keep a food log this long to make it effective, says registered dietitian Marisa Moore.

You can keep it simple try a few days to start.

"For better or for worse you write down everything that passes your lips."

And there is not just one way to keep a diet diary.

"You can  get an application for your smart phone to track what you eat."

Moore says the science behind the record keeping is strong.

"There's one study that showed that people who kept a food journal, they were able to lose about double the weight versus those who did not keep a food journal," says Moore.  "But importantly they were able to keep the weight off."

For Jackson, the accountability factor works.

"It helps me really be in control of my own eating habits."

(Holly Firfer for CNN's Health Minute)

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