Madalyn Bottone is having an afternoon snack. When she's finished, she writes it in her journal. "It keeps me in line, it makes me watch and more aware of what I'm eating."
A new study finds keeping a food journal can help you lose more weight.
Researchers in Seattle looked at 123 overweight and obese older women and found those who wrote down what they were eating lost about 6 pounds more than those who did not.
"They can actually go back to the food log and see what it was they ate that might not have fit into a balanced diet, and maybe review and see what other foods that may be lower in calories to substitute," says Sharon Zarabi of Lenox Hill Hospital.
If writing in a notebook seems old school, there are online food journal programs you can access through your computer or smart phone.
Experts say if you're going to start a log, make sure you have it with you or can access it at all times. Also, be honest and accurate, measure portions and read labels.
"It would also be important to maybe write down the time that you are eating so you can see if there are long hours that go by without you putting any fuel into your system," says Zarabi.
Madalyn says there's no denying what you eat when you write it down.
"July 4th, I was on a boat all day and all night and I just ate, all day. I just wrote a list of whatever I could remember I ate, and I wouldn't want to do that everyday. you see it in black and white."
She credits her journal and exercise for helping her drop 15 pounds and keep it off.
The study also found that women who skipped meals lost nearly 8 fewer pounds than those who didnt.
Food journals can also help pinpoint causes of migraines.