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The Most Important Step to Successful Weight Loss

food journalMore important than picking the diet plan you ultimately decide to follow, more important than adding exercise, more important than knowing your real weight – as opposed to the number you optimistically assign to your driver’s license – there is one step that you need to take before you can ever succeed at true and lasting weight loss. You have to realistically know how much you are eating.  Not the guesstimate, not the fantasy in your mind, but the actual cold, hard truth.

Pick up a cheap spiral-bound notebook the next time you are at the store.  Open it to a clean page, and date the top of it. Now. NO one will see this food journal, unless you decide to share it. Every time you put something in your mouth, jot it down. Lick the beaters from cake mix? Write it down. Two gulps from your son’s milkshake? Jot it down. Every meal you eat, every snack, every kernel of popcorn – it goes in the notebook. At the end of the day, take a minute and total it up. Did you achieve your recommended total of fruits and vegetables? How about protein? Does your diet have a plethora of sugar and fat and caffeine?

Use this log for a week, making no changes to your diet. At the end of the week, you’ll have a pretty good idea of the changes you need to make. Remember, be honest with yourself – it’s the first step to successful, and more important, long-term sustainable weight loss.  You can’t lose weight unless you know exactly what you are putting in your body.

May 20th, 2009