Tracking your food makes losing weight much easier. That much is proven.
Whether you're using a pen-and-paper food journal or one of the best fitness apps to keep track, whether you're counting your calories or just keeping a tally of what you're eating, it'll benefit your long-term weight loss goals.
One study found keeping a food diary can more than double your progress. The research, published by scientists from Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health Research (opens in new tab), found the more records the participants kept, the more weight was lost.
Jack Hollis, PhD, said: "Those who kept daily food records lost twice as much weight as those who kept no records. It seems that the simple act of writing down what you eat encourages people to consume fewer calories."
So why does something as simple as keeping a food record help with weight loss? Nathan Honess (opens in new tab), personal trainer and fitness model, has a few ideas. "It gives you some form of accountability. You have to be accountable to you," he said. "When the going gets tough, it gives you that little nudge to say “I’m going to keep this going”.
Nathan recorded his full thoughts on food tracking exclusively for our Instagram (opens in new tab) account, but you can see the video in full right here:
Watch Nathan Honess' talk on food tracking here:
One of the advantages of recording with an app is that it automatically fills in some vital information on your food, such as its nutrition content. "Tracking will inform you of how nutrition-dense your food really is," says Honess. "If you do want to be healthy and fit, we need a certain level of nutrients, fats, olive oils, vitamins A, B, C and K… however, how much you eat is more important than what you eat when it comes to weight loss. If you want to lose weight, it comes down to the calorie intake."
The best food diaries, fortunately, track both nutritional content for health and total calories, making it easier to continue to make healthy, sustainable choices. Tracking your food can keep you mindful of your diet and on track for your goals without resorting to overly strict diets such as keto or intermittent fasting.
"Make sure whatever routine you’ve chosen fits in with your lifestyle," says Honess. He's keen to emphasise that any good diet has to be tailored around your individual needs, and by tracking what you eat, you can indulge on occasion without sacrificing your commitment to your goals.
Download your favourite app, or grab that pen-and-paper pad old-school, and pair food tracking with the best exercises for weight loss. You'll be feeling great and shedding pounds in no time.
Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and is currently Fitness and Wellbeing Editor at TechRadar, covering all things exercise and nutrition on Fit&Well's tech-focused sister site. Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen runner, gym-goer, and infrequent yogi. His top fitness tip? Stretch.
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