Do You Need to Keep a Food Journal to Lose Weight?

By Putri PD
Do You Need to Keep a Food Journal to Lose Weight?

Journaling is a habit that’s recommended by many self-help gurus and it’s written about in countless self-improvement and productivity books. Like management consultant, Peter Drucker, said, “What gets measured, gets managed.”

And that’s exactly what a journal does. While there are different types of journals for different purposes, in this article, we’ll look at keeping a food journal because you’re trying to lose weight.

This is one of the best habits you could have and it will help immensely in your weight loss journey.


* Accountability

For starters, a food journal keeps you accountable. Relying on your memory is an exercise in futility. Most people can’t remember what they ate 3 days ago, much less 2 weeks ago.

With a food journal, you’ll be able to see exactly what you’ve eaten each day and be able to analyze your eating habits. It’ll be clear as day where you can improve and how you can add healthier options to your meals.


* Track your progress

You can also write down the calories for each meal and see if you’re at a daily caloric deficit. This is the cornerstone of all successful weight loss. By writing down your meals and totalling the calories (rough estimate), you’ll know if you’re on the right track.

Very often, people diet and exercise and wonder why they’re not making progress. Usually, one of the most common reasons is that they’re at a caloric surplus. You’ll be shocked to see how fast the calories add up with just a snack or two.

A food journal will always tell you the truth, as long as you religiously and accurately record down what you eat.


* Gain insights

It would be a good idea to weigh yourself daily and write that down in your food journal. You’ll notice that your weight fluctuates from day to day and this is normal. Your body may be retaining water, etc.

However, you’ll also notice that some foods may increase your weight the following day while other foods have no effect or even result in weight loss. Your body’s sensitivity to different foods will go by unnoticed if you don’t have a food journal.

If you notice that some meals are spiking your weight every time you consume them, it would be wise to replace them with meals that don’t have such an effect.

Over time, you’ll notice patterns in your diet. Some foods may leave you feeling hungry and cause you to eat more while other foods leave you feeling sated and you eat less.

Look through your food journal often and observe the patterns. You’ll be amazed at how much you can learn about your body and you’ll gain insights into tailoring your diet to fit in with your weight loss goals.


* Motivation

A food journal can also serve as a form of motivation. Record down each week. E.g. ‘Week 1’… ‘Week 2’ … and so on. By week 8, you’ll see how much improvement you’ve made.

Sometimes when results seem slow to come, it may feel like you’ve not made any progress. However, a quick glance at your food journal will reveal that you’ve made considerable progress.

You can then give yourself a pat on the back as you realize that you didn’t come this far to only come this far… and you’ll keep going and stay on track till you reach your goal weight.


* Consistency

The act of daily recording in a food journal is a habit and a way to stay committed to your journey. It’ll also show you how consistent you are with your diet… and you can see if you’re consistently losing weight. If you’re not, you’ll know that you need to make a few changes and ramp up your efforts.

Your journal will show you if you’re progressing, stagnant or regressing… and if it’s due to your consistency or lack of it. Just knowing this alone will help to keep you disciplined and focused.

By now you’ll realize that a food journal is a fantastic tool that you absolutely need for your weight loss journey. You could easily use any spiral notebook or legal pad as a food journal. As long as it’s simple to use and you’re writing in it daily, you’ll be good to go.

Start journaling your way to your dream body.