Jotting down your thoughts in a journal is known to help relieve stress and work out personal issues. But a recent study adds another benefit to the list—weight-loss aid. Researchers from the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research—who conducted one of the largest weight-loss studies to date—found that dieters who wrote down everything they ate each day lost twice as much weight as those who didn’t.

Around 1,700 overweight or obese men and women who weighed an average 212 pounds took part in 20 weekly meetings with nutritionists. They were told to eat 500 fewer calories a day, eat plenty of veggies and fruits, work out three hours weekly and keep a food diary. Researchers found that the participants who kept the journal lost 18 pounds in the nine months, compared with the nine pounds that the others who did not keep a food diary lost . Senior researcher Victor Stevens told the press, “Food diaries are a powerful self-management technique. They help you figure out where the extra calories are coming from,” he says.  “When you put yourself in a position where you are accountable for your behavior, it changes behavior.”

Even better news? Almost 44 percent of the participants were African American, which means that while most studies leave us out of the mix, this one provides solutions that actually work for our community.