If you’re like many people, you started the new year with a plan to lose weight. It’s a worthy goal and hopefully, you are off to a good start!
However, as the months pass, it can be easy for motivation to wane and good intentions to falter. Getting involved in a 30-day journal challenge can boost your enthusiasm and keep you engaged with a bit of fun competition. But, the real benefit lies in the way tracking your food can transform your weight loss journey for the better. Here are 3 empowering reasons you should jump on a 30-day journal challenge to start seeing results.
3 Reasons You Need A 30-Day Journal Challenge
You’ll Lose More Weight
Keeping a food journal is without question one of the best available tools for weight loss. People who consistently track what they eat lose more weight over time, just by the simple act of writing things down.
One study found that people enrolled in a weight loss program who consistently kept a food log lost twice as much weight as those who failed to record their food. Even more interesting, the more days per week the food log was filled out, the more weight they lost. These results provide clear support for not only keeping a food log but doing so consistently.
Another study followed people who were working to lose weight for a full year. They also found that keeping a food log was associated with significantly greater weight loss. The study had a weight loss goal of 7% of total body weight in the first 6 months, and the participants who consistently kept a food journal were much more likely to achieve the goal.
The studies show how effective a food journal can be, but consistency is key. A 30-day journal challenge is a great way to jump-start journaling and get you in the habit of doing it every day.
You’ll Become A More Mindful Eater
For lasting weight loss, how you eat can be as important as what you eat. Mindless eating and emotional eating are two common habits that derail weight loss efforts. Your relationship with food is at the heart of your eating habits, and mindful eating is essential to address that core relationship.
A food journal is really a mindfulness tool. Being mindful means being present in the moment without judgment. At its core, mindful eating is about these two basic principles:
- Attention – Be aware of what you are eating, why you are eating it, and how you feel while you eat. Mindful eating asks that you focus fully on eating without distraction.
- Non-judgement – Your relationship with food should be based on self-care and enjoyment. Mindfulness challenges you to become aware of the emotions attached to eating and to cultivate compassion and non-judgment.
When you keep a food journal, you can see the complete picture of your food habits. It will become obvious when you reach for food to cure boredom or fatigue. Ideally, your food journal includes recording your emotional state so you can identify how that relates to your food choices.
The act of having to record what you eat will immediately interrupt mindless eating habits. When you need to remember and put in writing what and why you ate, you can no longer do so without thought and awareness. In addition, as you cultivate an attitude of non-judgment, your relationship with food will become healthier and more satisfying.
It Sets You Up To Keep The Weight Off
Maintaining a healthy weight for life is the true goal of any weight loss effort. You don’t want to put in all the work to lose weight, only to gain it back later. For this reason, your weight loss journey should emphasize healthy habits that will stay with you for a lifetime.
Tracking what you eat should be a lifelong habit. While the exact structure of your food log may change over time, the more often you capture a snapshot of what you eat, the easier it will be to prevent the weight from coming back.
Research backs this up. One study examined the effect of healthy behaviors on people trying to lose weight. They checked in on people at the 6-month and 18-month mark and observed how often they kept a detailed food journal. The people who consistently kept a journal lost more weight. But importantly, those who were still keeping a food journal five or more days a week at the 18-month mark were keeping it off.
Committing to your food journal now is an investment in your health for years to come.
Jumpstart Your Food Journaling Habit
The science of weight loss makes it clear that you need to track what you eat. Not only that, but you need to be detailed, honest, and consistent. A 30-day journal challenge is ideal for jumpstarting this new habit.
Being part of a challenge connects you with other people who share similar goals and values. It might even tap into your competitive nature to spur motivation and keep it fun. While there is no better reward than feeling your best, challenging yourself to achieve a big goal, and then reaching it, rewards you with confidence and increased motivation to stick with the healthy habit for good.
The easy-to-use ShiftSetGo app takes all the guesswork out of logging your meals and activities and makes viewing your progress effortless. With our app, members can record meals by scanning bar codes or manually searching for foods and ingredients, while logging ShiftSetGo meals in seconds. Download it today from the App Store or Google Play.