Keeping a journal has a hidden health benefit: A recent study indicates that keeping track of your eating habits in a diary or journal can help to double your weight loss. The study, published in the August 2008 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine followed almost 1,700 overweight or obese men and women with an average weight of 212 pounds.
After 20 weeks of study participation (which included weekly group meetings, recommended daily reduction of 500 calories, 30 or more minutes of daily moderate intensity exercise, adherence to the DASH diet, and daily journal entries of food intake and exercise minutes) the total average loss was about 13 pounds. But the more that the participants wrote in their journals, the more weight they lost - on average, about twice as much as those who did not maintain records.
By keeping a simple food diary, you can more objectively determine how much you are eating and become accountable for your food intake. Try to enter the portions eaten after each meal, and use whatever method works best for you - pen and paper, a smartphone application (such as the iPhone's "Notes"), or a spreadsheet on a personal computer - to help keep the process consistent.