Why Keep a Food Journal? -- Dr. Fielding, NYU Langone Medical Center

One of the best ways to understand your daily calorie intake and lose weight is to keep a food journal. Studies have shown that keeping a food journal can radically improve total weight loss, too. For example, in this study the researchers asked patients to track calories in addition to attending support groups, eating healthy and exercising. Those who kept food journals six days a week lost almost twice as much weight as those who tracked their calorie intake for only one. Here, Dr. Fielding, NYU Langone Weight Management Program, explains why keeping a food journal works.

The Art of Calorie Control

Keep a food journal to help with weight loss.

Keeping a food journal is not just about reducing your daily calories. It’s about controlling them. Undershooting your daily calorie needs might cause your body to store fat instead of burn it. This is the opposite of what you want. In addition, you’ll gain even more weight when you begin eating more because your metabolism will slow. Keeping a food journal will also:

  • Identify eating patterns. Are you eating too close to bedtime? Having too many snacks in the afternoon when you’re likely bored rather than hungry? Writing down what and when you eat can help uncover such patterns.

  • Keep you accountable. Your journal will encourage mindful eating habits, since you’ll need to write down every bite you take. All calories count, even the bites, licks and tastes.

  • Encourage cooking meals at home. While some restaurants make their calorie information available, most do not. That means you could exceed your daily calories without realizing it every time you go out to eat. If you’re hoping to lose weight, it’s better to cook at home and know exactly what you’re eating.  

Generally, your daily calorie target should be 500 calories lower than your basal metabolic rate. If you can sustain this caloric deficit, you will begin to lose weight. Be sure to consult your doctor before pursuing any weight loss program.

Starting a Food Journal

Ready to begin your food journal? Follow our upcoming blog posts:

  • Tips for Starting Your Food Journal
  • Hints for Accurate Calorie Counting
  • Eliminating Hidden Calories
Dr. Fielding, NYU Langone Bariatric Surgeon

Making an Appointment with Dr. Fielding, NYU Langone Weight Management Program

The NYU Langone Weight Management Program offers everything from nutritional counseling to bariatric surgery. If you are struggling with obesity or weight-related health issues, make an appointment with an expert like Dr. Fielding. Call 212-263-3166 or email weightloss@nyumc.org for more information.