The number one diet tip is writing down everything you eat. You do not need to write the calories, just jotting it down and holding yourself accountable is enough to help shed pounds. In fact, it’s been proven to double the amount of weight you lose. [Source]

My favorite slim down success story featuring a celebrity (without a paid endorsement) is Carrie Underwood. When she first came on to the scene, she looked like your average sorority girl who liked her booze and cupcakes. Then, all of sudden, WHAM! she has these hot legs that came out of no where! What is her secret? Yep. You guessed it. In every interview she gives, she always credits writing down everything she eats. She is a vegan as well I should mention, but she steers clear of starchy carbs late at night and loads up on veggies.

Since getting back from my vacation, I’ve been lazy about work and what I eat. For most people, this doesn’t matter but for me it’s my job. If I don’t look the part of a fitness professional, I don’t get the gig. I am kicking my eating habits into self-discipline mode until April 22nd (which coincidentally is when I leave for another vacation).

If you think this is excessive vacation time, I agree. I, however, have a friend who has a timeshare and I all I had to do was pay for a flight. I’m 28 years old and in a few years, hopefully I’ll be starting a family and won’t be able to do this sort of thing. Not sure why I am explaining myself but I’m going away again, this time sitting in a bikini for 7 days!

So here goes, after the first two days of writing down what I’ve had I’ve lost 5 lbs of water/glycogen storage weight. Kind of a lot, so I’m curious what happens next. I chew a lot of gum. I hate this because it’s the only bit of artificial foods that I really eat. I am curious if it affects my sweet tooth cravings so I’m even writing down I have a piece. I am not writing down the calories as I go through the day. At the end, I roughly write a number down and add it all up. I’m aiming for 1500 calories this week, and once I hit my goal, I’ll up it back to 1800. So what am I eating…

A protein pancake was for breakfast both days, the first with Jay Robb Vanilla whey protein and the second with Vanilla Vega, a double shot of espresso with stevia and shortly after 2 TBSP of apple cider vinegar with 1/2 lemon juice and dash of cayenne pepper. A couple of hours later I had a 1/2 a grapefruit.

For lunch both days, I also had a tuna melt with The Laughing Cow new Smooth Sensations Cream Cheese in Veggie 1/3 less fat on a slice of Ezekial bread and a side salad with veggies and balsamic vinaigrette. I wanted something sweet afterwards so I had the other half of my banana from my morning pancake with some peanut butter.

For a snack, I had the JCore Body-Lite snack replacement drink mix which is made a with a patented appetite curbing product called Fabuless. I’m not sure what it is and I’m really not trying to sell this to you, but it amazingly keeps me feeling full from 4 pm until dinner at 8 pm. I just put a serving in a small Tupperware that is usually reserved for transporting dressing and dump it into my water bottle at the office. It’s awesome. It’s pricey but there are 30 servings in a bag which comes out to a $1.67 snack for 100 calories.

Dinner has been boring. That’s when you know I’m eating clean when dinner is boring. I made Jamie Eason’s Turkey Meatloaf muffin Monday night and it was my best batch yet! So good. I paired it with just asparagus the first night. The second night I added a 1/4 cup of cooked quinoa.

Both nights I also had dessert, banana froyo! This stuff is addicting. I used about 1 small banana, 3 tbsp of unsweetened almond milk and about a tablespoon of vanilla protein powder. Blended it together with my immersion blender to create soft serve ice cream and topped it with a few walnuts.

I ate the same thing both days because I felt great both days. I have tried writing down what I eat before and never get past 3 days. I’m excited to take on this challenge and encourage you to do it with me for 10 days. I can’t stand putting my food journal into an iPhone so it’s paper and pen with me all the time. Do you keep track on paper what you eat?

The Number One Diet Tip Put in Use

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  • karen

    im SO in ! ughh its 2.41 in the afternoon and im already at 1300 😛 i guess its veggies the rest of the day haha 😀

  • Cami

    So very interesting!! Thanks for the info!!
    I think I might try your exact diet…I just want a flat tummy 🙁

    I was reading in a magazine about 1/3cup of quiona and 1/4cup ground turkey & some walnuts for lunch…it’s so boring and disgusting…I hate it. I don’t even know if it’s really “helping” either. Sigh.

    One day I’ll get there. 🙂

  • Nyla

    I tried and I failed, I just couldn’t rememnberwhat I ate during the day when I wrote it down in the evening. But I’ve been planning on starting again today 🙂 I keept a little notebook with me and so far it worked…

  • Viviana

    I am in! I used to use the calorie trackers and those also helped a lot but now I joined TIU and calories are not so important. I just had a protein pancake too BTW 🙂
    I hear you on being lazy. I was on vacation too, then moved and changed jobs and now my commute is a stinky 45 minutes…I just got off my bum this week and finally put myself back on the excercise/cooking healthy wagon. I wish I had my own buisiness too, I know it is a lot of work (my mom has her own business back home in Italy and I know the ups and downs) but the freedom to take time off…hopefully this job in corporate America will pay me well and make me grow but I am not sure yet I would not trade it all for something different! So go ahead, go on vacation and enjoy yourself. I am justa few months older than you and even though I am married I share your sentiment completely. When kids come (not soon for me!) it will be all about them!
    Keep up the good work sarah and cheers to our 10 day challenge! 🙂
    PS When I got back into my routine this week I picked one of your strength training routines and I loved it! Modified the weights a little but overall I made it!

  • Viviana

    Oh one more thing: I made quinoa and black bean burgers last night with Kale chips…it was DELICIOUS! Definitely something to try if your dinners are boring. Oh, and I made your kale+brussels sprouts salad for my lunch today!

  • Sash

    I used to do try to keep track of my food intake on my phone but never included the number of calories I consumed. I decided to purchase a pocket journal from The Calorie King and got serious. The journal is awesome and helps to keep me honest because it accounts for breakfast/exercise, snack/exercise, lunch, snack/exercise, dinner, snack/exercise with columns to track number of calories, fat, carbs, protein, water in take. It also provides calorie totals and then net totals based on the amount of exercise performed each day.
    I’m extremely active because I run and I’m a fitness junkie (kickboxing, boot camp, barre etc) but I got into the mind set that I could eat what I wanted and just work it off. Once I started to write everything down in this journal I realized that I was consuming 2000 -2200 calories. Your can’t out train a poor or high calorie diet.
    I really wanted to get lean and drop 10lbs because race season is about to start so I decided to reduce my caloric intake. I ate did 1200-1250 calories for the 1st week (oatmeal w/flx seeds+ green tea+ fat free yogurt(breakfast), banana(snack), 4oz baked fish, 1/2cp brown rice, salad (lunch), fruit(snack) 4oz baked fish/chicken,1/2cp brown rice, salad/steamed veggies(dinner) & oatmeal /fruit/kashi oatmeal cookie(dessert) and I dropped 7lbs which was awesome. I’m into my 2nd week and I’ve decided to increase it to 1400-1500 calories since I’m only trying to lose 3-5 more lbs. I really have to credit my weight loss to this journal. It can accommodate 10 weeks of information so I’ll continue to keep track of everything. It also has a weekly summary where you can state your weight, goals, notes. Plus it is really small at 4″ x 6″ so I just pop it in my bag and write in it after every meal & activity. I Definitely recommend it.

    • Sarah

      Hey Rachel, I too try to “eat clean” -- my chewing gum is the worst offender. Here are ingredients: whey protein concentrate, maltodextrin, fructose, cocoa powder, soy protein isolate, Natural chocolate flavor, xantham gum, natural and artificial french vanilla flavor, calcium caseinate, milk protein concentrate, stevia leaf extract. It also includes Fabuless which is a “palm and oat oil complex”

  • Christie

    I will join! A few days late but Id really like to do this.
    I am in the second week of JE Livefit (skipped week 1 because I felt it was a little simplified from my normal routine)
    It is going great, but next week we start counting cals so I figure this will be good prep.
    Its amazing how great I feel and how much more muscular I feel after just a 1 week change.

  • Kate

    I’m in the process of trying to convert to a clean diet and am planning to grow my own veggies (we’ll see how much of a green thumb I have). I love the idea of writing things down, and although have tried it in the past like others, never really stuck to it. I will try again! Just a question, Sarah, about the cider vinegar/lemon juice drink. I’ve done a clean eating cleanse with a nutritionist where drinking the Master Cleanse drink was a component (maple syrup, cayenne pepper and lemon juice). Is this drink to achieve similar goals?

  • alicia

    When I count calories…..which I hate doing…..I found to be much easier. You just select the foods you ate for the day and it automatically figures everything for you. I was so simple to use….better than writing everything down by hand. You can also log exercise on there too. Right now I am trying out the Jackie Warner lose 10 lbs in 10 days diet. Its really a 30 day diet broken into 3 phases. Each phase is 10 days. For those 10 days you eat the extact same thing. Very simple. Phase 1 is 950 calories. Phase 2 1200 calories. and Phase 3 1500 calories. I am on day 7 right now, its amazing, you would think that eating 950 calories a day you would be starving, but I have hardly been hungry at all. Weird. I could have never done that on my own. Check out her book, and let me know what you think. I know its crazy, but its been really good so far. I am around the same size as you…. i am 5’4 and fluctuate between 130-135 lbs. My goal this time around is 125.

  • Lauren H

    I ‘write down’ what I eat all the time. I would never do it if it wasn’t for MyFitnessPal app that I have on my Kindle Fire. Everywhere I go, every morsel I put in my mouth I log. I had 1 Mike & Ike after a workout and even though it was 1 candy, I logged it. I never seem to get enough calories in, though. Always have 300ish to spare by the end of the day.

  • Helena

    I have never done a diet in my life. I’m 32 and since last year i realized that my eating habits were putting extra kilos on me slowly, but firmly. Result? 4 kilos in a year. I have been trying to loose weight seriously since January. I workout 3 times a week but, still no weight loss. First was to drop the alcohol consume. I cheated my self mixing mineral water, sirup and just a drop of alcohol for the taste. It work pretty well, but I am still struggling with I-want-bacon-every-dinner habit. Mornings and lunch are really fine, but as soon as 4pm comes, need for salt and carbs is until now unstoppable.

    I think your vacations and double vacations and triple vacations are a GREAT idea and very deserved too. You do a lot of good with your blog!

    All of this text to tell that I will jump into the challenge and write down everything I eat. I will also try your two days of healthy start. Turns out perfect for this weekend. Another thing: Leek soup is great for a detox start.
    It is my first diet ever… let’s see how it goes. How do you combine this challenge with your workouts?

  • Amy

    i love banana soft serve-it’s such a good idea!! i haven’t made it in forever so thanks for reminding me.

    i definitely need to start writing down what i eat. im pregnant and although im not at all trying to diet or anything, i have noticed i use that as an excuse to eat crappy when i shouldnt. my sweet tooth is out of control!

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  • Helena

    I did it!!!! I eat 1283 calories yesterday!!!! Yuhuhuuuuu!!!! With olive oil, a glass of wine, home made Chili con Carne and eating lunch with a friend outside. I’m so proud of myself, I’m afraid my head won’t fit through the door today :o)

  • Kat @ Balancing Kat

    Love your blog! Just started reading it and look forward to reading more. I recently started my own blog and it’s mainly to keep track of what I eat to keep me accountable to myself and to the online world. It’s helped a lot! 🙂

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