If you’ve followed any other diet programs, you may have come across the exercise to create a ‘food diary’, it’s frequently used as an exercise at the beginning of starting a regime and it may seem a bit of a chore, or even something that isn’t so important – but the process of writing something down and bring it into awareness – is powerful.
While I was running my health clubs back in the day, I completed a Master’s degree in nutrition and exercise science because I was convinced the more I knew, the more I could help people. For my dissertation I wanted to look at the effects of food recording – of having to write down what you ate – and if (and by how much) this affected food choices. On the basis that to eat it, you had to write it down, I was pretty sure I would find it did make a difference. As students we had to follow and experience several different types of diet and as part of that process, we also had to record everything we ate for a set period and analyze the results. Interestingly – I certainly changed what I ate, purely because I didn’t want to admit to the lecture that I had eaten certain ‘unhealthy’ things. How hypocritical would that make me, as a student of nutrition and sports science. Of course, I wanted to be seen as virtuous!
So, I designed my own study to run over 10 weeks and got a group of willing volunteers from within the health clubs, all of whom wanted to lose weight. I told them I’d be analyzing their diets, but I couldn’t manage to do them all at the same time, so I asked half the group to record what they ate for the first five weeks, and the other group for the second five weeks. The volunteers didn’t know the reason for the study, or what I was looking to prove.
As it was for a clinical study, it was important to remove as many variables as possible, so I asked all my volunteers to attend a nutrition course for an hour a week for six weeks prior to the 10-week programme. I asked them not to change what they ate over this six weeks, but to simply use it as a learning experience for the programme.
At the end of the 10 weeks, I analyzed my data and found, as expected, that irrespective of whether they were in group one or group two, the period when they recorded what they ate was when they lost the most weight. This was all good! But, in addition to that, I was amazed to find that when I looked at the measurements I’d taken when the volunteers signed up – i.e. before the nutrition course – they’d lost more weight over this six-week period than the whole of the following 10 weeks, when they were supposed to be making a more concerted effort to change their diets!
This was in spite of the fact that I’d specifically asked them not to change what they ate during the nutrition course and they’d all agreed! When I talked to the volunteers after the study was finished and I had my results, they all said they didn’t think they had made any significant changes to their diet over the six weeks. But it was clear to me that they had made small, possibly even unconscious changes here and there, based on what they were learning about food and how the body burns fat. These small, non-deliberate changes resulted in significant weight loss for almost all the volunteers. These changes were little things that were so easy to do that they did them every single day and didn’t even notice they were doing them.
Why did my subjects make changes they didn’t even know they were making – and then deny all knowledge of them? The answer is – awareness.
So, if every day you are choosing the intention to be ‘aware’ either through writing down and planning what you want to eat that day, reading some great quotes to remind you of your health goal, or listening to one of my guided meditations or learning audios from my ‘Placebo Diet at Home’ program then these daily small steps will definitely lead to bigger awareness and greater change!
Research shows that people who use journals are generally more successful! If you have my ‘The Placebo Diet’ book, then I’ve created a journal to enable to you get the best possible results from the programme. There’s a daily food record exercise (I’ve made it easy where you only have to tick a box!) in Part 2 of the journal and you can download it for FREE here>> (Scroll down to the bottom of the page).
If you want to learn more, come along to my next workshop. I’d love to work with you and help you change your mindset to get the life you desire.
Saturday November 11th, 2017 – My next one-day inspirational MOTIVATION MATTERS WORKSHOP. If you have begun the process of change but feel you need a boost and you want to re-invigorate your intentions, then this day is a must. BOOK NOW HERE>>