How can keeping a weight-loss journal help me lose weight?

Kirsi Bhasin
Nutrition & Dietetics

Keeping track of your weight loss in a journal can certainly help you lose weight. Setbacks can come but it's important to focus on your ultimate weight loss goal and successes along the way. It will help keep you motivated. Try especially recording what you are eating in a food diary. It can help bring awareness to your eating and daily lifestyle habits.  If you experience certain signs and symptoms from foods, a food diary can be a useful reference to track possible food allergens or sensitivities that could be the reason why you have been gaining weight and even why you are not losing it as easily.

Try tuning into how you feel both physically and emotionally before, during and after meals and beverages. It can help you understand the relationship you have with eating certain foods that can be sabotaging your weight loss efforts. For example do you eat unhealthy foods or sweets when you are angry, stressed, sad or even excited? If so, try doing an activity you enjoy like listening to music, talking to a friend, etc. instead of going for the unhealthy treat.

If you happen to miss recording certain meals or foods – don’t stress. You can always pick up from where you left off. Once you begin to make clear connections between physical symptoms, emotions and food – you may find that you no longer need to record everything you eat.

If you want to lose weight, write it down. Record your daily exercise and activity as well as notes about what, when and how much you eat. A daily diary can focus your weight loss efforts and help your healthcare providers see what works best for you.
For me, a weight loss journal means a simple notebook where I can write down my plan for nutrition and exercise (what and when I am going to eat and how and when I am going to exercise). I then write down my actuals and at the end of the day, I can compare my plan against my actual to see how I did and where I can improve the following day. This helps us to stay aware of what we are doing and helps to be accountable to ourselves.
When losing weight, many people find that writing everything down helps keep them on target. Try it even just for a week or two, to get an idea of where you stand.

Keep a small notebook with you all day. Write down everything you eat and drink, including the serving size. Some people set target levels for calories or grams of fat and keep track of their daily totals.

Make a note of what kind of physical activity you do and for how long. It may also help to write down other information, like when or where you exercised, who you exercised with, or how you felt before, during, or after exercise.

You may want to check your weight once a week and write it down, or use your clothes as a measure of weight loss.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.