“Research shows…”  Oh, yeah? Says who? Haven’t you always wondered just who is behind that elusive “they” in “they say?” Well today I’m naming names.

According to articles in Oprah, More, and Woman’s World magazines, according to Dr. Oz on his daily television show, according to the Mayo Clinic, and according to ME, you will lose much more weight, as much as 50% more, if you keep a daily food journal.

A food journal, food diary, food log, or whatever else you want to call it, can be as simple or as complicated as you choose to make it. If you’re like me, you go with simple.

I use a 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 lined journal. It has pretty flowers on it and has a hard cover and spiral binding so that it lies flat when it’s open. I bought it for a dollar at Michael’s in Longview. But any old lined notebook works just fine.

I put the date at the top of the page, and record my morning weight at the same time each day. I write down exactly what I eat, including portion size and calories. I aim for 1200 calories or less per day. I try to get some of all food groups on most days, and I total each meal as I go, so I constantly know how many calories I have “left” and can plan accordingly.

At the bottom of the page, I write down what kind exercise I did, with minutes or distance included. And that’s all there is to it. Takes only a few minutes a day, but it’s the part about being conscious and accountable that makes it work.

You could however, get some pre-made charts which have food, calories, carbs, fiber, fats, proteins, and all kinds of nutritional information to fill in, or you can go high-tech and go online to sign up for free, or not-so-free, programs with their own daily charts. The only thing that matters is the fact that you unfailingly write it down, every single day.

From personal experience, I know that when I slack off on recording what I eat, my weight loss stalls, and when I am rigorous about maintaining my food journal, I lose more. Research shows this to be true for most everyone, so if you don’t trust the Mayo Clinic, at least you can trust me.