Food Journaling

Beyond calorie counting
Most of you are more than familiar with tracking food and calories. You can do this any number of ways: MyFitness Pal, LoseIt, Pen and Paper, sticky notes–whatever works for you! Some goals of tracking what goes in your mouth:

  • Increases awareness of what, how and when you eat
  • Promote accountability for yourself and you can share with your weight loss coach
  • Increases understanding of calories, macronutrients and portion sizes
  • Can unveil patterns of mindless eating, habits, food triggers and food cues
  • Help you to lose weight. Research supports that the simple act of writing it down is correlated with greater amounts of weight loss


  • Do not generalize. Be specific and write everything down including portion sizes and amounts
  • Include extra’s such as condiments, dressings, creamers, etc–they add up!
  • Keep it simple. If you make it too difficult, you will not stick with tracking
  • Include your feelings and emotions
  • Find a format that works for YOU. Myfitness Pal is a good tool, but pen and paper works well too
  • Personalize it. Journaling is about YOU and for YOU. You may have to experiment some before you find a system that works for you

Food tracking can be a helpful tool, but at the end of the day, it’s really not about the food.  What you’re really after is the awareness of why, how, and what you eat. Too often, the calorie counting becomes the focus and can actually become counter-productive. That’s where journaling can help. Journaling is a powerful, yet underutilized tool that allows you to externalize and process thoughts, emotions and triggers.  I challenge you to try it for 30 days and see if you don’t experience dramatic results.

Nutrition Solutions

About the Author
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Weight Loss Coach specializing in lifestyle transformation