6 Causes to Log Your Meals & Train

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An app that makes it easy to track your food, exercise, and progress (like Nutrisystem’s official companion app, Call) could be the secret of your weight loss success.

Research has shown that people who keep track of their diet, whether it’s in an old-fashioned food diary or on a smartphone or smartwatch app, are more likely to lose weight, lose more weight, and stop doing it more than people who don’t. T.

The scientific evidence is so overwhelming that many health organizations are investing in it and health insurers are promoting it for promoting wellbeing, a factor that could lower health care costs. (It’s much cheaper to stay healthy than to get well when you’re sick.)

Here are the benefits of tracking what you eat and how much you move:

1. You can lose more weight.

This is how it worked for the 1,700 participants in a 2008 study conducted at Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Health Research. Those who kept a journal of everything they ate lost twice as much as those who didn’t. And the more they wrote down, the more weight they lost. Why is the food diary – now available as a practical smartphone app – such a powerful tool for weight loss? Keeping track of what and how much you eat and how much you move encourages you to pay attention to both and make healthy choices – even if you are the only one seeing your journal.

2. The scales can become your best friend for losing weight.

Stepping on the scales every day used to be a big no-no – after all, weight naturally fluctuates – but researchers now say it can help some people shed the pounds. In a 2015 Cornell University study of 168 overweight or obese gym goers, those who hopped on the scales daily lost and held more weight than those who didn’t. They also recorded your success on a graph, another way to keep track of your progress. Another study published in the online journal PLOS ONE found that people who skipped weighing for just a week gained weight. Like food diaries, the scale keeps you honest and gives you the motivation to keep moving the dial down.

3. You will move more.

Researchers at Boston University and the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York gave a group of 54 people with prediabetes a little something that made them increase their daily activity and possibly fight off full-blown diabetes. It was a pedometer. Participants who wore their pedometer daily took more than 1,400 additional steps than those who did not – and they also lost weight.

4. You begin to connect the dots.

No wonder why you put on weight this week. It’s in your food diary or activity chart. Compare your good weeks with your bad weeks and find the place where everything went wrong. A few spoonfuls of sugar in the coffee that you needed because you didn’t get enough sleep? Only made it to the gym twice this week? This tells you to pay more attention to your sleeping habits, to your sugar intake, and to stick to your exercise regimen. For example, if you have two teaspoons of sugar for each of your three cups of coffee, you’ve added 100 calories to your diet – and hit the American Heart Association’s recommended limit for added sugar for women. (Men get a little more.) For weight loss, according to US government guidelines, you need about 150 minutes of moderately vigorous exercise (like walking a 15-minute mile) per week while you diet. That’s more than three hours that you can break up into easy-to-manage half-hour sessions six days a week.

5. You can avoid these plateaus.

The high of losing weight is often mitigated by the low of reaching a plateau. We often lose hope and return to our old unhealthy ways. Diet, over. But if you know you are stuck where you are right now – thanks to your daily tracking – you can either adjust your diet or exercise to get things going again.

6. You can be more flexible.

Studies have shown that rigid diets – those that don’t allow for the occasional piece of chocolate or have a limited eating schedule, for example – just don’t work. You fail the practical test – you can’t live on it. Researchers at the University of Salzburg in Austria found that diets were much more successful when they were flexible about what to eat. If you keep an eye on your daily food intake, you can say yes to the occasional indulgence, because in your diary you will find out what you have already eaten and whether there is still room for a scoop of frozen yogurt – and whether you can even have a splash of chocolate sauce and a cherry on top.

Ready to Lose Weight? Download the FREE NuMi app and start tracking your food and exercise today! >

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