They Say That A Picture Is Worth 1000 Words…

Is This Picture Worth 20 Pounds?


Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison recently asked 43 dieters to record what they ate over one week in words and in pictures.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers found that the dieters who photographed their meals prior to eating them kept a far more effective and accurate record of daily calories than the food loggers.

More importantly, the Photo Dieters were less likely to overeat.

One volunteer told the researchers: ‘I had to think more carefully about what I was going to eat because I had to take a picture of it.

‘I was less likely to have a jumbo bag of M&Ms. It curbed my choices. It didn’t alter them completely but who wants to take a photo of a jumbo bag of M&Ms?’

Another volunteer said the photo diaries actually improved the quality of his diet.

‘I noticed that there weren’t too many greens in my diet, which means I should try to eat more vegetables and fruits.’

So, Why Does Taking A Picture Of Your Dinner Help You Stick To Your Diet?


  • According to researcher, Lydia Zepeda, “nutritionists see diaries as recording tools. Now they should explore the role of photo diaries as intervention tools”.
  • According to the health/science writer at the Daily Mail, “by having pictorial evidence of how they have been feeding themselves, dieters have a guilt trip about the quality and quantity of what they are eating”.
  • According to this seasoned Photo Dieter, Photo Dieting is a ‘food re-education through a lens’ with the emphasis on re-education. About what I eat, when I eat and how much I eat.
  • According to me, Photo Dieting is a blend of modern technology and conscious eating.
  • By using their camera-phone to snap a picture of their lunch, Photo Dieters are freeing themselves from the unconscious eating patterns associated with Emotional Eating and our epigenetic predisposition to wolf down a Big Mac, fries and a Coke.
  • It may sound a little Oprah, but by forcing yourself to stop, for just a minute, and think about the food that you are about to put in your body, you allow your conscious mind to check back in and take back some control from your raging hormones and your emotions.
  • The food logs, while effective, do nothing to stop you from pigging out at the trough. They may make you feel guilty afterwards, as you record your gluttony for posterity.
  • And guilt is the last thing that any dieter needs.


  • Food logs have already been shown to be a successful diet tool.
  • Past studies have shown that dieters who use a food log lose three times as much weight while dieting as those who diet sans food log.

Now, this study didn’t look at weight loss, but it did show that Photo Dieters found it easier to eat healthily than food loggers.

  • They found it easier to not break their diets.
  • Maybe this little trick is signaling the end of Yo-Yo dieting.

So Where Do We Go From Here?

  • Find a way of eating that fits into your lifestyle and will help you lose weight. That may be a DIET or simply a decision to eliminate all of the “white foods” from your dinner plate.
  • Start snapping pictures of your meals prior to ‘chowing down’.
  • If you are really gutsy, start up a WordPress blog and upload your meal photos to your own personal Photo Diet blog. Our Photo Dieter friend could probably give you a few tips.
  • Feel free to poke around my archives for ideas on how to create your own custom diet and exercise programs. And feel free to ask questions.


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