We developed the TWC to help our clients and friends learn and practice healthy habits. What sets it apart from other programs is that it is not so restrictive that we have a difficult time staying with it – or an almost impossible time maintaining these good habits once the Challenge is over.
Many of us already know what to do but sometimes we need a little push to get us moving in the right direction. Plus, it’s fun to know others are challenging themselves right along with us.
The TWC has simple rules and guidelines. By keeping track and posting how many points you earn each day, the Challenge encourages you to make the best choices. We all think twice before deciding to give up a point.
Some points are harder to earn than others. Sometimes, once we’ve “lost” the point, we lose our mojo for the day. For example, some participants report that once they go over the suggested daily eight grams of added sugar, they just keep right on going because at that point they figure, who cares?!
Enter the food journal. Yes, of course, it’s fun to earn points in the TWC but if we’re honest with ourselves it shouldn’t be only about the points. Whether your goal is to improve your health, clean up your diet or lose weight, it can be extremely helpful and even enlightening to write down everything you eat and drink; how much and when. Many people report greater success combining a food journal with the TWC.
According to Carra Richling, a writer and registered dietician, “Keeping a food journal makes us more aware of our choices and encourages us to be more mindful of not only what we are eating, but also how, why, and when we are eating. It sheds a light on our patterns of eating.”
For many of us, The TWC guidelines and rules are adequate motivation to eat healthier. But if your goal is to remove unwanted pounds, it can be really helpful to keep yourself even more accountable by jotting down what you consume each day. That way, once you lose the sugar point, you may think again before grabbing additional cookies or having a second serving of ice cream because writing down five cookies and two cups of ice cream (a serving size is 1/2 cup) might be just the wake-up call you need!
Keeping a food journal is also a good way to manage your portions. Restaurants use super-sized plates so servings are larger than ever. Using a food journal will keep you accountable for the size of your snacks and meals. Before starting, be sure to check the labels for serving size and corresponding calories. Counting calories can be tedious and has mostly been dismissed as a way to lose weight. But knowledge is power and it’s good to be aware.
One longtime BbG client who has completed several challenges still struggled to lose weight despite making healthy choices most of the time. She finally decided to keep a food journal to track exactly what and how much she ate each day and reported that this was a big “aha” moment. After researching portion sizes and calories, she realized she had far underestimated her daily caloric intake. Now, combined with exercise and her usual good food choices, she lost – and kept off – five pounds for the last three months.
Whatever you decide, remember to stay mindful and make the best choices. The whole goal of the TWC is to encourage mindful healthy choices all the time, long after the challenge month ends.