If you're trying to lose weight and hitting the gym and dieting haven't worked for you, try this.
The first step to reaching your ideal weight may be as simple as writing it down.
Putting a pen to paper and keeping a daily journal of meals and snacks is one of the best strategies of successful dieters, said Dr. Christopher J. Mosunic, a specialist in weight management and diabetes at Greenwich Hospital in Greenwich, Connecticut.
"Keeping a food diary is like exercise, it will always help you lose if you do it consistently," Newswise quoted Mosunic as saying.
More importantly, the writing habit "is one of the top predictors of weight loss success," Mosunic added.
No wonder some of the country's major commercial diet plans strongly recommend the write-what-you-eat journaling practice to their clients.
In terms of the diary keepers' success he explained, "It's not much different than taking notes in class. The more your write, the better you perform."
The reasons for the success of journaling dieters have a lot to do with their willingness to acknowledge every bite of food they consume.
"It can help you realize how many calories you are consuming each day really quickly," he said.
The practice can be helpful to a more casual dieter who just has a few pounds to lose or wants to break-thru a stubborn weight-loss plateau.
Here are some of Mosunic's food diary tips:
Keep it simple: "One of the worst mistakes I see my patients make is using these complex, computerized Internet-based programs," he said. The best journals are easy to keep and understand. Some of the most straightforward computer-based programs can be found at Livestrong.com and Dailyplate.com.
Mosunic keeps his own journals on Microsoft Word documents.
Write everything down: "Even the handful of chips or pretzels," says Mosunic. "It's part of the practice of just being responsible for what you consume."
Share your journal: "It's always best to have someone who reads it," said Mosunic, noting some of his favorite food diaries have "junk food all over the pages." The reason? "I know the patients are being honest!"