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August 24, 2016
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The Magic Traveling Food Journal

With all the talk of New Year's Resolutions and dieting, I keep coming across advice to keep a food diary. The articles usually point out that research shows keeping a food diary "even for just one day" can aid your weight loss efforts. (I haven't been able to find these studies, but maybe I'm just using the wrong search engine or key words.)
Keeping a food journal has been part of my routine for a very long time now. In fact, I have several editions of notebooks dedicated to logging every morsel of food that goes into my mouth (along with blood sugar readings and insulin dosing, of course).
It's also a cornerstone to the Weight Watchers program. "If you bite it, write it" is a common phrase heard in meetings. My leader, Kim, started what we call "The Magic Traveling Journal." The 12-week planner gets passed around to a different group member each week.
It's an interesting experiment and those who have done it said it helped them in different ways. For some, committing to journal for a full week got them in the habit of tracking. Others noted that knowing other people were going to read what they ate gave them extra motivation to just say no. One realized all the extra nibbles he was taking and was able to lose 3 pounds the week he had the magic journal. This definitely piqued my interest.
This week, I have the journal. It's up to week 7 already. It started the week of Thanksgiving, so the previous journal-ers had it during the holidays. Being the first in the new year to use it puts me at a bit of an advantage as far as virtuosity goes, of course.
So far, I don't think knowing that others are reading what I'm eating is a factor in my sticking to the diet. The phrase, "What you eat in private, you wear in public" is keeping me in line these days. If anything, the public nature of my journaling is making me eat a more varied diet so I can be a good example to others or maybe just to make myself look good. Heck, I made Quinoa last night, and how often can most of us say that? (I couldn't even pronounce it properly until a few months ago.)
What I've learned most from the journal experiment is that a bad diet day isn't a good reason to give up. It seems we all have moments of weakness and it's good to see I'm not alone. As one journal-er wrote after a Thanksgiving dessert binge, "Oh well, the day is over. I'm just going to move on."
I weigh in on Wednesday, so we'll see if the journal's magic shows up on the scale.

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