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Writing it down

July 11, 2008 - Kathie Evanoff
Reports were released this week that states people who keep a food journal lose twice as much weight as those who don’t.

The report, which was in newspapers and on television news programs Monday, stated that a study indicated that a group of dieters were split into two camps, one that kept journals and one that didn’t. Those the kept journals lost 18 pounds compared to nine lost by the non-journalers.

The folks at Weight Watchers have known this for years. The Weight Watchers program includes extensive journaling, and that means writing down every morsel of food that goes into a person’s mouth.

Do you pop a slice of raw potato in there while peeling them for dinner? Do you lick the spoon after mixing up the morning’s muffin batter? If you do, you need to be writing it down.

Those little bits of mindless eating can add up throughout the day and even though your meals are strict and right on track, you may be wondering why the scales aren’t moving.

I’ve rebelled against keeping a food journal, claiming there was no time. Time is one of my biggest hurdles as I attempt to get through the work day as well as my regular chores at home and weekend errands. It keeps me from keeping this blog updated on a daily basis. In most cases, I would start keeping a journal with good intentions only to remember at the end of the day that I forgot to log my meals.

I even went so far as to buy a pre-printed food journal that contained enough pages for logging 90 days of meals. I did well for about 20 days and then it got tougher and tougher to remember to bring the book along with me to work and to restaurants.

Keeping this blog is possibly the best way I have figured out how to keep a consistent food journal. It also forces me to visually see whether or not I am making healthy choices, not just to keep control of calories and portion sizes, but to make sure I’m getting enough of the right food groups as well. Some days are better than others, but that’s just the way life is. I left this blog with Monday’s meals and I do intend to catch up on the rest of the week, so please be patient.

Tuesday, as I’ve mentioned several times, is my busiest day of the entire work week, so I find myself often having to make off the cuff choices. I have to confess that Tuesday through today, breakfast was exactly the same. It just seemed easier to begin each morning with a quick bowl of cereal and fruit with milk. Of course, I never went without my morning cup of tea. Most people start their day with coffee, but I never acquired a taste. As a child, I always had tea when I wasn’t feeling well and it became my comfort beverage of choice as well as my morning pick me up. I seldom have hot tea later in the day, unless I am feeling under the weather or as a warm-up beverage during a cold, winter day.

In addition, I always add sugar to my tea, but not a lot. I doubt I use two teaspoons worth, although I always count it as two teaspoons. Much more than that and it tastes too sweet and takes away from the flavor of the tea. In case you were wondering, my favorite teas are Earl Gray and English Breakfast. I am not much of a fan of herb teas, although I will accept it if that’s all that is offered.

Tuesday morning, as I mentioned, was a bowl of Fiber One cereal with blueberries and fat-free milk. Lunch was leftovers from Monday’s dinner, brown rice with grilled onions and peppers marinated in teryaki sauce and balsamic vinegar. I also had leftover tossed salad, romaine lettuce, shredded carrots, grape tomatoes and celery with about two teaspoons Italian dressing, and a package of whole grain Sun Chips.

When I got home later than evening, my husband had made a large pot of navy bean soup with potatoes, carrots, celery, bacon and ham. I whipped up a batch of corn muffins and had one with my soup.


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Breakfast: 2 ounces grains; ½ cup fruit; 1 cup milk; 30 discretionary calories (sugar in tea). Breakfast calories: 275