We all have resistance to following good advice. My wife can tell you story after story about how stubborn I am in a million different ways. And she is right. And when I follow her advice, more often that not, my life improves.
To plan meals for most people falls into such a category in their own lives. It’s something they know they should do, but they just don’t want to. But it’s so important that I am going to devote an entire blog post to why you should and how to do it right.
Do you even know why keeping a food journal is so important? I mean, we are talking about fat loss, seeing abs, looking good naked – whatever it means to you. I could write about high intensity interval training, kettle bell circuits, low carb diets, carb cycling, and nutritional supplements that help with weight loss and so on and so on.
But I am putting a journal on how to plan meals at the top of the list. Do you know why it’s so effective? Ponder that for a second before we continue because really, if you’re not doing it, it means you don’t really know.
Answer: writing down your meals results in a 50% greater weight loss over time than not writing down your meals.
Notice I wrote “to write down your meals.” I am really talking about taking that a step further, i.e., to plan meals. More on that later, but for right now, can you name me any single weight loss technique that improves outcomes by 50%? Whether you can or whether you can’t, what matters most is that there are very few tactics that can yield a 50% improvement in fat loss in the first place!
In other words, given you only have so many minutes a day to focus on weight loss, and given the small investment in time required to keep a food journal, writing down what you eat is one of the best investments you can make. It will take you about the same amount of time it would to run a mile, but over time will result in far more weight lost than from running that one extra mile each day, and you won’t even be breathing hard at the end!
Now here’s the kicker – we can improve our weight loss bonus to more than 50% by when we write these meals down. In short, write down what you are going to eat over the day at the beginning of the day instead of writing down what you will eat after you eat it. Why?
Writing down your meals helps you lose weight because you see how much you ate, and that is as important in losing weight as knowing your bank balance so you don’t overdraw. However, writing down what you are going to eat at the end of the day puts you in the position of actively creating the kind of day you are going to have as opposed to passively documenting what occurred.
For example, imagine that you write that you will have a chicken Caesar salad with dressing on the side for lunch (because really – you are adding 800 to 1,000 calories of dressing to your daily caloric intake if you don’t ask for it on the side). Your coworkers unexpectedly then invite you to lunch. You are far more likely in this case to request a place where you can get that Cesar salad than just going with them to a burger joint if that was their first pick.
Writing down your intent will more likely create a different outcome for you at lunch, one that saves you 1,000 calories, than if you had never written anything down. And weight loss is about acquiring as many as those better caloric choices as you can over the course of your year. It’s just about being more successful at weight loss than you are now. You don’t have to be successful every day to lose weight. But writing down what you intend to eat will make you more successful more often, and that is what we want.
Tagged Weight Loss