Diet Journal Your Way to Weight Loss

How to Use a Diet Journal

Whether you call it a food journal, a nutrition journal, a diet journal, a food log, or a food diary, keeping track of your food intake is all about accountability.

FREE daily food journal templates

The Harvard School of Public Health says so. So does the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

When you look at what you eat in black and white, you may be surprised! Most of us are totally unaware of how much we are eating until we get it down on paper.

Write it down and you'll see. See and you'll believe.

And studies show that people who keep a daily diet journal lose more weight than those who don't.


Still not committed to keeping a food journal? Let me convince you.


What's required

Keeping a food log doesn't have to involve anything more than writing down everything you eat and drink over the course of the day.

And yes, that means everything...every lick, nibble, bite, and sip that passes your lips.

After a few days you will have lots of good information about your choices and portion sizes.

(And once you get the hang of keeping your food diary, you may even want to establish a daily calorie goal.

Besides what and how much you eat, there are a variety of other parameters you might choose to track in your diet journal:

  • calories
  • grams of fat
  • grams of protein
  • grams of carbohydrate
  • grams of fiber
  • grams of sugar
  • milligrams of sodium
  • milligrams of cholesterol
  • number of glasses water consumed
  • number of fruits and vegetables consumed
  • how hungry you were when you ate (on a 1-10 scale)

And since how we eat is often driven by factors other than hunger, you might also want to keep track of:

  • your emotions at the time of your meal
  • who you were with
  • where and when you ate, and even
  • your sleep schedule

(If you do want to count calories or various nutrients, there are books and websites that can provide you this information. My personal favorite is calorieking.com.

diet journal food log Diet Write
nutrition journal food journal Diet Write
I advise my own clients to have a journal with them at all times, so they can record accurately whenever they eat. Here's the one I have them use. It's called Diet Write, and I wrote it myself!

ALL my food journals

However, if you prefer to do your journaling on a computer, here are some online options worth checking out:

But remember: record everything you eat if you want your diet journal to be of real use!

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