Eating and reducing weight

How To Keep A Food Journal For Weight Loss

Alba Charles
By Alba Charles . Updated: January 16, 2017
How To Keep A Food Journal For Weight Loss

One of the main problems of diets is that sometimes they don't work at all. When this happens, it means that we're doing something wrong. A study published by the American Journal of Preventative Medicine proved that people who kept a food journal lost weight more effectively that those who didn't. According to experts, keeping a food diary encourages you to eat less calories and be more conscious about the daily amounts of food you take. With the hectic lifestyle we have it is usual that we eat without knowing how we're eating and what we're eating. Keeping a record of the food you take will help you be more aware of your diet and thus lose weight more effectively. However, you need to keep your food journal correctly to have better results. Here at OneHowTo we explain you how to keep a journal for weight loss.

Steps to follow:

You can write down in your journal whatever information you want, but experts recommend to anotate at least four categories: time, food, amount and degree of hunger.

It is also advisable to write down the place where you're eating those foods. This way you'll see which are the places where unhealthy foods are most likely to be consumed, so you can avoid them in the future.

Depending on your notebook, you can use a sheet of paper for every meal. If you're typing things down on your smartphone, you can use journal apps. You'll figure out which system works out better for you once you start using them.


Decide how often you update your journal. For better results, it's desirable to update it every day. However, it can be hard and maybe you'll only write things down from Monday to Friday. It is still better than nothing but be aware that the more you keep track of what you eat, the better results you'll see.

Also, decide a time of the day to write down. The best would be to carry the journal with you all day and update it immediately after eating. You can also update it at night when you're home, but this way the feelings and other information won't be as accurate.

How To Keep A Food Journal For Weight Loss - Step 2

Be accurate about portion sizes. If you want to lose weight it is very important that you keep track of how big your portions are. Keeping track of portion sizes will give you an idea of how big a normal serving size is. Furthermore, if you write your emotions and how full you feel before and after having finished eating, you'll understand the amount of food you need.

Recording the quantities of food will also work to know how meals affect one another. You might notice that your breakfasts are too small if you have to eat a sandwich an hour later.


Write down EVERYTHING you eat. The journal won't work out if you're only writing the main healthy meals you prepare. Everything counts, from that bag of crisps you ate at the office to the apple you had for dessert.

How To Keep A Food Journal For Weight Loss - Step 4

Write down your emotions. This mostly relates to when you write down that bag of crisps you had at the office. Why did you eat it? Are you anxious or worried about something? You don't need to start asking questions to yourself, a simple reason will work. Recording your feelings when you eat will help you tackle emotional eating.


Keeping a journal for weight loss will help you identify which groups of foods you need to eat more or less. You might think you're eating enough vegetables, but the information on your journal might tell you the contrary. Your diet will be more balanced and you'll be losing more weight.

How To Keep A Food Journal For Weight Loss - Step 6

Analyze the data. After keeping track of the food you eat for some weeks you can start analyzing the data and look for patterns on your food intake. You'll discover whether you eat more or less in given days of the week or when and why you feel hungry. This will positively help you lose weight more efficiently.


Besides only tracking down food, you can include other notes such as exercise and nutritional information of the foods you ingest. Keeping track of your workouts will help you discover which foods give you more energy or make you feel better after or before a workout.

The nutritional information will be useful to make sure you get enough of a certain nutrient.


Keep track of your weight. Record it at the end of each week so you'll see how the progress goes.

If you want to read similar articles to How To Keep A Food Journal For Weight Loss, we recommend you visit our Food & drink category.

  • You don't need an actual journal. If you think you'll never have a pen in hand or you're going to forget your journal at home because you can't carry it in your bag, simply use your phone as a journal.
  • Be totally honest. It's your diary, no one else will look at it. The more honest you are, the easier it will be to spot where the problem is and have better results.
  • Personalise it. Write down the information more useful for you. Maybe you realise the place where you eat is not as important for you as how much time you spent eating.
  • Reward yourself. If you're succeding in keeping track of your food in the diary, you can reward yourself by going to the movies or buying that dress you've been willing to have in your closet.
  • Aditionally you can also note how much you spend on each meal. Write down how much it costs your weekly grocery shopping as well as your meals out.

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How To Keep A Food Journal For Weight Loss