Writing down everything you eat isn't just for your memory's sake. It really does make a difference.

Keeping a food journal and writing down everything you eat really is helpful when you’re trying to lose weight. In one study, researchers found those who recorded what they ate lost twice as much weight as those who didn’t keep food records.

For one, keeping a food journal helps you feel more accountable for the food choices you make. You’re less likely to pound down a bag of Doritos if you know you’ll have to write it down afterward. A food journal also helps you discover the “hidden” calories you eat during the day. You might be surprised to discover how many extra calories are hidden in your diet. A small handful of nuts here and there, for example, can really add up, and you might not even realize it. Reviewing your food choices can help you identify which eating patterns could be sabotaging your weight-loss efforts. You can then review your habits and learn how to make more productive choices. For example, you might discover that skipping lunch leads to excessive snacking throughout the afternoon.

A food journal is a great way to track your progress throughout your weight-loss journey. You can be old-fashioned and write down what you eat in a literal journal or notepad. Or you might prefer to download an app on your smartphone and keep track of what you eat that way. Either way, be sure to write down every little thing you eat, and make sure you have your smartphone or notebook with you at all times.