Keeping a food journal can be very helpful when you’re trying to lose weight. It can make a big difference in how successful you are. But it can be a bit tricky when you’re getting started. These are some tips for starting and keeping a food journal to give you the best chance of success.
1. Decide if You Want to Go Techno or Old School
You have to make a few decisions when you start a food journal. The first one is if you want to go techno or the old school route. Old school is basically just you keeping it real in a notebook while going techno is using some sort of online food journal like My Fitness Pal. Both can work equally well. It’s all about what you’re most comfortable with.
2. Have a Strategy
It’s best to have a strategy for keeping your food journal. Do you plan to log your daily meals ahead of time? That can be helpful because it allows you to see what extra calories you’ll have for the rest of the day. Or it could be that you aren’t focusing on calories at all. You may just be trying to make healthier choices. It’s all about deciding what your strategy is going to be.
3. Resolve to Be Honest
Your food journal isn’t going to be very helpful if you aren’t honest about what you’re eating. Write down what you’re really eating. Fudging on how many calories or pieces of candy you indulged on isn’t helping anyone. And since your food journal is really just for you, you’re only lying to yourself. Being honest is key here.
4. Track Your Stats
You want to know if your food journal is helping you. It’s a good idea to take a look every couple weeks or so and see if you’re making progress. That involves looking at the scale but also looking beyond it. Are you making healthier choices? Are you feeling stronger in your motivation? These are things to consider.
5. Keep It with You
When you’re keeping a food journal, it’s good to keep it with you. This is one point in favor of keeping an online food journal. The access to it is usually easier than having to carry a notebook around with you. But it's all about what works best for you. If you don’t have your food journal with you, you may not take the time to log all your information later.
6. Write It down Immediately
It’s also always best to immediately write down what you’re eating. This way you don’t have to run the risk of forgetting. It’s also good if you can add things before you eat them. When I keep a food journal, I like to plan ahead to see what my day’s actually going to look like in terms of food. This helps me see if I’m making healthy enough choices in time to tweak them.
7. Evaluate Periodically
It’s a good idea to evaluate food journaling periodically. Is it working for you? Is it helping you to achieve your goals? Do you like doing it? If it isn’t a good fit for you, that’s okay. It’s all about what helps you on your individual journey to weight loss.
These are some tips to help you start a food journal. Which ones do you plan to follow? I’d love to hear from you.