5 Reasons to keep a food journal…even for just one week

By Charlene Greene on October 7, 2021

woman pictured from above keeping a food journal, with a croissant and cup of coffee on the table

Food journaling can be one of the most helpful tools you could use when you are feeling just not right. Most doctors, nutritionists and health coaches will, at some point, ask that you keep a food journal in order to get a better idea of what you are consuming in your day that may be causing you discomfort. I have also found that there can be several different ways of food journaling. There are several apps that you can download and fill in as you go through your day, using a notebook to jot down your meal, or even taking a quick photo. I have had clients set up Instagram accounts and they just click and then I follow along and then we can discuss at our meetings what was going on at each meal so they can reflect on how they feel about the meal. 

Reasons for food journaling are as different as each of us. Most commonly we think of food journaling as a way to lose weight, but if this is not your goal, why would someone want to track their food intake? Well, here are 5 reasons why you may want to start a food journal, even if for a short period of time, you will certainly learn something about yourself.

  1. Tracking calories
    Here we go back to the weight loss aspect of things, but not necessarily, sometimes you may be inexplicably dropping weight and you think you are getting enough calories in for the day, but then you take a week and look back and you notice you were skipping meals or  just taking a few bites and then moving on. No matter what your reason is for wanting to track calories, a food log is going to be the best and most efficient way. For this kind of tracking, I highly recommend finding an App that you can just input what and how much you ate and let the app do the work of figuring your caloric intake. My favorite is MyFitnessPal, it’s a free app and has a huge selection of foods.
  1. Food sensitivities
    A food log could help in determining what foods may be problematic to you. If you are having consistent stomach aches, GI problems or just feel lethargic and hard to stay awake, it could very easily be what you are consuming. For this kind of food log, I recommend a notebook; denote the meal, time, what you ate and how you felt about 30 minutes after eating. After a few days, you may see a link between your symptoms and the food or foods that you are eating. This will help you to think about choices that would not cause you discomfort or you may notice that it is more serious and this practice will encourage you to go see a Doctor to get real answers. If you bring your journal along that will certainly move the process along as well.
  1. Accountability
    A food log could also just give you a good overview of what you have or have not been eating. For example, you may feel that you aren’t getting enough plant based foods in your diet, but you aren’t sure, keep a log for a week and you’ll see just where you stand. 
  1. Meal prep
    A food log could also work as a meal plan prep. If you have any picky eaters in your family, I am here to tell you I do, this is a great way to keep track of what was loved and you should make again or what was thrown out and there is no need preparing that again. Even if you don’t have picky eaters, keeping track of meals can help when you are trying to plan out the weekly plan and you find that you have no good ideas. Looking back at what you have made in the past will help to break through that slump.
  1. Reevaluating food goals
    Perhaps you made a goal at the beginning of the year to go plant based, or cut out carbs or sugar and about 3 months in you realize that although you haven’t fallen completely off the wagon, your legs are dangling off. If you take the time to journal, you will make better choices based on your goal because you are seeing, in writing, exactly what you are consuming and when. This will also give you the opportunity to reflect on why you made a choice that was not in alignment with your goal. 

If you find yourself struggling with gaining or losing weight, consistent GI issues or just want to learn more about the benefits of food journaling, how to make it a sustainable practice in your day, please sign up for a 30 FREE discovery call. We can work together to set up a program that will work for you. 

Be kind to yourself and have a lovely week.

Let me be your guide,