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Does Keeping a Food Journal Help Lose Weight?

Does Keeping a Food Journal Help Lose Weight?

Does Keeping a Food Journal Help Lose Weight? It's a question many people ask when they're trying to slim down. When we're trying to lose weight, we often try lots of different things. But sometimes, the simplest ideas work the best. One such simple idea is keeping a food journal.

Keeping a food journal, also called a food diary or food log, is more than just writing down what you eat. It's a powerful tool that can help you reach your weight loss goals. 

Let's see how it can help you reach your weight loss goals.

Does Keeping a Food Journal Help Lose Weight? 

Absolutely, a food journal can be helpful when you're trying to lose weight. It helps you develop your eating habits and patterns and assists you in identifying the foods — good and not-so-good — that you eat on a regular basis. Studies demonstrate that keeping a food diary can really help you change your habits. 

In one study with almost 1,700 people, those who wrote down what they ate every day lost twice as much weight as those who didn't write anything down. Plus, according to a review of 15 studies, using methods like keeping a written or electronic food diary is connected to losing a lot of weight.

Why Food Planning Journals Work

Why Food Planning Journals Work

Imagine this: you think you're eating healthy, but when you actually track your food intake in a journal, you realize you've been snacking more than you thought. Food journals bring awareness to what you're consuming, helping you identify areas for improvement.

Here's how keeping a food journal can help you lose weight:

  • Shine a light on sneaky calories: We all underestimate how much we munch sometimes. A food journal forces you to track every bite, making you realize just how many calories you're actually consuming. You might be surprised by those sugary drinks or mindless snacking!

  • Identify patterns: Did you ever notice you crave fries after a stressful day? Studies suggest that feeling bad, like being anxious or sad, might make you eat more and lead to overeating. Food journals help you see connections between your emotions and eating habits. This awareness can help you make healthier choices when cravings hit.

  • Plan your portions: Keeping track of portion sizes is key to weight loss. A food journal helps you visualize how much you're actually eating compared to recommended serving sizes.

  • Boost accountability: Knowing you have to write it down can subconsciously nudge you towards healthier options. After all, nobody wants to record that extra slice of cake!

In addition, visit our informative blog to learn the energy balance equation for maintaining a healthy weight.

What Should You Write in Your Food Diary? 

It's important to be accurate and consistent. Here's what you should include:

  • What are you eating? Write down the food and drink you have and how it's cooked (like baked or fried). Also, note any sauces, dressings, or toppings you use.

  • How much are you eating? Say how much you have in everyday measurements (like cups or ounces). It's best to measure your food, but if you can't, just estimate.

  • When are you eating? Write down the time you eat. This helps you see if there are times you eat too much, like late at night.

  • Where are you eating? Record where you eat, like at home or at a restaurant.

  • What else are you doing while eating? Are you watching TV or talking with someone?

  • Who are you eating with? Are you alone or with others?

  • How do you feel when you eat? Are you happy, sad, or stressed?

Tips for Successful Food Journaling

Here are some essential tips for keeping an effective food and fitness journal:

  • Write down what you eat or drink right after you have it. Waiting until later might make you forget.

  • Be specific about what you eat or drink. For example, write down the type and size of a drink, like a latte.

  • Don't forget to include any alcoholic drinks you have.

  • You can use a smartphone app to help you. These apps also tell you about calories and other things in your food.

Now that you've been keeping your food diary, what's next?

After a week of writing down everything you eat, take a look at what you've recorded. See if you notice any patterns or habits, like:

  • How healthy is my diet?

  • Am I eating fruits and vegetables every day? If so, how many?

  • Am I eating whole grains every day?

  • Am I having sugary foods or drinks? How often?

  • Do my feelings affect what I eat? Do I eat unhealthy snacks when I'm tired or stressed?

  • How often do I eat while I'm busy doing other things?

Visit our insightful blog to learn, “What are the best Micronutrients for Weight Loss?

Implement SMART Healthy Eating Goals

Implement SMART Healthy Eating Goals

Now that you've seen where you can do better, it's time to set some healthy eating goals. Use the SMART format: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based. Here are a few examples:

  • Observation: You usually have two servings of vegetables a day.

  • Goal: Eat more veggies.

  • SMART goal: Have three servings of vegetables each day.

  • Observation: You order takeout three or four nights a week.

  • Goal: Cook more at home.

  • SMART goal: Only order takeout one or two nights a week.

  • Observation: You eat well until about 3 pm, then you snack on unhealthy stuff from the office vending machine.

  • Goal: Eat healthier snacks.

  • SMART goal: Bring a healthy snack (like fruit and nuts) to work every day.

Visit our insightful blog to learn how to create a meal plan for weight loss and muscle gain.

Contact a Pro

If you want expert guidance for weight loss, choose our Personal Training program in Boston. We focus on a balanced approach of strength training and cardio to boost metabolism and burn fat. Our coaches tailor programs specifically for you and regularly measure progress with body fat testing. 

Plus, take a look at our blog to learn about the benefits of strength training for effective weight loss.

Wrapping Up

To sum it up, the evidence suggests that keeping a food journal can indeed be a valuable tool in achieving weight loss goals. By promoting awareness, accountability, and identifying areas for improvement, maintaining a food journal can empower people on their journey towards a healthier lifestyle. So, to answer the question, "Does Keeping a Food Journal Help Lose Weight?"—the answer is a resounding yes.


What are some food journal ideas?

Food journal ideas include recording meals, portion sizes, times of consumption, and emotions.

What should I include in my fitness food journal?

Record meals, snacks, portion sizes, calories, and any exercise activities.

How often should I write in my food journal?

Aim for consistency! Ideally, track your intake every day. Even a few missed entries can disrupt your awareness. But consistency is key, so find a routine that works for you, even if it's most weekdays.

Do I need to track every single calorie?

While counting calories can be helpful, it's not mandatory. Focus on portion sizes and becoming familiar with calorie ranges for different foods. Many food journals have built-in calorie trackers if you do decide to go that route.

What if I find food journaling boring?

Make it fun! Use colorful pens, add stickers for milestones, or include inspirational quotes. You can even find creative food journal templates online.

How long should I keep a food journal?

Weight loss is a journey, not a sprint. Aim to keep your journal for at least a few months to develop sustainable habits. You can gradually reduce tracking frequency as you become more mindful.

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