Weight-Loss Secrets Revealed By Experts: Food Journals Excellent, Lunches Out Not So Much

Weight-loss secrets are hard to come by and often have a hefty price attached — because especially in the information era, what can we learn that we don’t already know about how to shed excess weight?

Weight-loss secrets in the current day and age tend to involve cutting out carbs or processed foods, supplements of the moment like raspberry ketone or strict rules about how and when to eat. But effective weight-loss tips are meant to be life changes rather than quick fixes to work — and few of those are bandied about when a quick way to lose weight is sought.

As it turns out, experts revert to time-tested weight-loss advice time and again when the subject is revived. And one of the oldest, food journals, have been invoked again in a new ABC piece on how to lose weight and keep it off.

The news site spoke with Dr. Anne McTiernan, lead author professor of epidemiology at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and lead author of a new study focusing on “accountability, knowing what you’re eating and how much,” and weight loss goals.

McTiernan explains that while lunches out with friends can obliterate mindful eating and accountability (due to caloric variances inherent in restaurant eating), a food journal can help with long-term weight loss goals:

“The food journal helps you keep track, in real time, of what you are eating… Restaurant eating, on the other hand, makes it difficult to know what you are eating, and the serving sizes are often large enough for several people. So, it’s difficult to keep an account of what you eat if you don’t know what’s going into the food.”

It may feel archaic in the iPhone era to keep a “food journal,” of the pen-and-paper variety.

But apps like MyFitnessPal have an astonishingly complete database for healthy eaters (seriously, I was personally sold when “Costco hotdog, no bun” came up in a 10 second search), available for iPhone and Android, make the practice intuitive even for technophiles.

Do you use any digital food journals or exercise logs for faster weight loss?