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Every patient entering the SP Program is provided with a packet of materials, including tracking sheets to be able to more easily journal the intake of the different food groups and water ingestion.  By journaling food/water intake and exercise, people are much more cognizant of how close they are following the recommended phase of the SP Plan that is intended to be followed for that particular week.  

In reality, the percentage of people that keep active in this journaling?  Well, the answer needs to be broken down to whether this is the first 1-4 weeks of the program , the middle weeks or the final weeks when the patients are still in the active phase of visits.  So, I believe the first few weeks may have 30-50% journaling, the middle weeks 15-20% and the final weeks down to 10% or less.

Why does this waning of enthusiasm occur for journaling food/drink intake as the weeks go on?  The answer is simple:  In the initial weeks of the program when the enthusiasm as at its highest, people will find the time to journal.  However, there are so many other responsibilities (both work and home) that people need to focus on that the journaling of food intake becomes more and more a burden.  Additionally, if foods/drinks off the plan are consumed (remember, this is NOT “cheating”) people do not want to journal these “indiscretions”.

Studies have shown a 60% increased efficiency of weight control for those people that journal their food/drink intake.  Doing so makes people more cognizant of the actual portions they are consuming of the different food groups and also allows for the person to think through the acts of ingesting derailing food/drink sources before the acts occur.

Let’s even expand the “journaling” concept to shopping lists, journaling reasons why struggles are occurring/what actions may be taken to stop these behaviors and journaling the calories being burned during exercise efforts.

Yes, journaling is a major pain in the a–, but this is a very effective tool to support long-term weight control efforts.  Take out that pen, find those tracking sheets and become proactive in writing!