MONDAY, Jan. 3, 2011 (HealthDay News) -- The pen may be mightier than the scale when it comes to losing weight, experts have found.
Keeping a daily journal of snacks and meals is one of the best methods used by successful dieters, according to Dr. Christopher J. Mosunic, a weight management and diabetes specialist at Greenwich Hospital in Greenwich, Conn.
"Keeping a food diary is like exercise; it will always help you lose [weight] if you do it consistently," he said in a hospital news release.
"I can split my patients into two groups. The food diary keepers and the nonkeepers. The people who keep diaries are usually very successful and I work with them for about 12 weeks. The people who don't are people I sometime see for years," Mosunic noted.
Dieters who keep journals are more successful because they're willing to acknowledge every bit of food they eat, which clearly shows them how many calories they are consuming per day, he explained.
Journaling also helps weight and nutrition experts track a person's eating and behavior patterns.
"One of the key behaviors we can identify and address is how binge eating happens," Mosunic said. "You can see by looking at something as simple as what people ate for breakfast, why their blood glucose goes low and they end up binge-eating in the afternoon."
It's important to keep your food journal simple, record even the smallest amounts of food, and it is best to share your journal with an expert on weight loss and nutrition, according to Mosunic.
The American Academy of Family Physicians explains what it takes to lose weight.