discover the power of a food journal

Discover the Power of a Food Journal

It’s that time of year again when many of us go far astray from eating healthy. I’m not sure Halloween starts our fall from grace or if it’s “pumpkin spice season”. What I do know is that it’s two weeks after Halloween and we have a ridiculous amount of candy left from my granddaughter’s treat or treating. Like many of you, I have my struggles with healthy eating and such. Through the end of the year, I’ve committed to not beating myself up when I miss the mark. There is a tool that was recommended to me to track the parallels between my diet and lupus flares that is easy for anyone to use - a food journal. 

Imagine a free weight loss tool that doubles your chances of taking off pounds. That’s how powerful a food journal can be. Researchers at Kaiser Permanente studied participants in a weight-loss program and found that those who kept daily food journals lost twice as much weight as those who didn’t. 

Of course, keeping a journal does require some time and work. A food journal is a powerful self-care tool. Take a look at the benefits and tips below, let me know what you would add.

halloween candy still in our house

Nyah's Halloween haul that we still have 2-weeks later.

Benefits of Keeping a Food Journal

 Increase your awareness. A food journal puts an end to mindless snacking. You become more aware of how much you really eat. 

Resist temptation. Knowing that you’ll need to jot down those bacon bits on your salad or that extra slice of birthday cake may be all you need to stop you in your tracks. Making nutritious food choices becomes automatic. 

Increase your knowledge. Your journal is educational too. You’ll learn about calorie counts, fiber intake, portion sizes, and new recipes. A study by Cleveland Clinic showed that people who were most successful lost 10% or more of their body weight. 

Target your efforts. Once you spot your triggers, you can change them. You’ll notice the times of day when you crave something sweet or your tendency to eat the whole donut when you meant to take just a bite.

Eat healthy. Remember that your food journal can help you do more than take off pounds. You can identify allergies, monitor your blood sugar, or do just about anything that involves food and your overall wellbeing.


Photo by Lily Banse on Unsplash

Tips to Ease Your Food Journal Practice 

  •  Act quickly. Writing your meals and snacks down immediately is ideal. You’re less likely to forget important details. 
  •  Aim for consistency. Make entries each day if possible. If you slip once in a while, get back on track as soon as possible. The more weeks and months of data you collect, the more valuable your journal becomes. If the time commitment seems daunting, remember that you’ll probably get faster as you go along. 
  • Tell the truth. Be honest even if your lunch consisted entirely of French fries. You can keep the entries for your eyes only if it helps. 
  •  Be specific. Details matter. Mention each ingredient in your sandwich. Notice how much cream or sugar you’re adding to your coffee. Pay attention to the calories you drink whether you indulge in pumpkin lattes or margaritas. 
  • Look at the big picture. Your diary can encompass more than food and beverages. Write about your emotions and how they affect your eating. Include information about other relevant factors such as exercise, sleep, and health conditions. 
  • Choose your format. Buy a pretty blank book or use an online template. Maybe you want something that’s easy to tote around or perhaps you prefer to keep it on your nightstand. 
  • Take pictures. Photos make your journal more fun and productive. Include before and after shots of your shrinking waistline. Use images to help you remember and recreate your favorite slimmed-down dishes.
  •  Review frequently. Rereading your diary will help you evaluate your progress and make healthy changes. Looking back gives you a chance to reflect and gather any information you want to share with your doctor or other professionals. You can also use your diary to chart your future as you think about the next milestone you want to reach.
enter your meals into your journal asap

Photo by lilartsy on Unsplash

Keeping track of what you eat is an effective way to lose weight. As long as you’re consistent and accurate about food journaling, an occasional slip won’t stand in the way of your eating healthier and looking slimmer. 

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I hope you enjoyed this article. Please leave a comment or share it to help someone else through their journey with change. Is it time for you to pivot? Change can be difficult, but you don't have to walk that path alone. Subscribe to my newsletter to get inspired and take action towards becoming a better you.


  • Angel Lewis

    Hello there! I'm Angel, an entrepreneur and writer who grew up in rural North Carolina and now resides in Virginia. My love for writing began during my time at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC. Over the past couple of years, I've authored two nonfiction books in the personal development genre. Along with writing for adults, I also created 'Ready. Set. Fly!', a children's book that inspires self-confidence and resilience. When I'm not writing, I enjoy gardening, reading, playing games, and spending time with those closest to me.

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3 thoughts on “Discover the Power of a Food Journal

  1. I’ve toyed with keeping a food journal for many years. Perhaps, now that I’ve retired and slowed down a bit, I’ll finally do it. Thanks for those benefits and tips.

  2. Angel, what a great, cogent description of food journaling and its benefits. I do know people who even photograph their food and send it to their expensive coach. For people who have a strong desire to change their health with the nature of their eating or by shifting their weight, simply keeping that food journal would be a powerful tool for self-accountability.

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