Can Journaling Help With Weight Loss?

Journaling in food journals is an important, but often overlooked, tool for your weight loss battle.

If you’re looking for the weight loss magic sauce, journaling is it!

Weight loss journaling is more than help. This is an incredible way to supercharge your diet, and impact your eating habits for the rest of your life.

I can tell you, not all dieters are willing to put the effort into this extraordinary tool that almost guarantees results. But if you are the person who’s ready to give your all to finally losing the weight and getting off the dieting wagon — it’s time to start using a food journal.

It’s not complicated (well, it’s as complicated as you care to make it), there’s no real rights and wrongs, and as you will see in this post,

Journaling produces weight loss.

No doubt, if you’ve looked around online you’re familiar with what must be thousands of weight loss apps. These apps are so prevalent online that there must be hordes of dieters using them every day.

But what about an old fashioned hand written journal? Is there any advantage to a written food journal or food diary over the countless diet apps?

I’m surely not disqualifying these high tech apps as useful tools, but I believe taking the time to get back to basics with a pen and paper generates far better and far more permanent results. And for my part, permanent changes that produces permanent results is always the best way.

You might be surprised to learn that according to research, food journaling with simple pencil and paper works.

Can Journaling Help with Weight Loss?

The power of journaling has most recently been supported by data coming out of the long-term Look AHEAD obesity project, an 11-year study that was funded by the National Institute of Health.

The Results of Journaling While Dieting are Undeniable

Writing in a Journal Increases the Odds of You Losing Weight, and the awareness you gain from journaling increases the odds of you keeping it off.

The Results are Real and Proven.

Among the 550 participants in the study who kept records of what they ate, those who wrote at least 34 words a day lost the most amount of weight.

This particular study proves that writing and keeping detailed records is important.

Use a Lot of Words and Details

When the level of detail in the journal went under 33 words a day, the average weight loss dropped quite a bit.

Another reliable study written about in the Science Daily and published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine had some very interesting results.

With nearly 1700 participants, the ones who regularly recorded in a food diary lost twice as much weight as those who weren’t. What more do you need to know about journaling and weight loss?

Journaling can double your weight loss compared to not journaling.

What Should be in a Weight Loss Journal?

Journals and or dairies are always personal, so there’s no real right or wrong way to do it. However, these are the most important things to keep up with, one way or the other, depending on how you go about it.

  • Food items. Write every single thing you eat or drink down, right away.
  • Calorie counts. Losing weight hinges on a calorie deficit. Having an idea of how many calories you consume and how many you burn each day is the only way to know if you’re burning more than you eat.
  • Fats, protein, and carb counts. Some people keep up with every bit of nutrition they eat? Even if you don’t keep up with fats and protein, it’s a good idea to count carbs.
  • What time do you eat? If you’re diligent with your journal, you will record every bite and drink that goes in your mouth. This is great information for analyzing your eating patterns. Some you may not have been aware of before.
  • Include what you’re doing while you’re eating. Where are you eating and who with? Are you watching TV, diddling on the computer, or driving to work?
  • Describe how you felt while eating. Not only will recording your mood while you’re eating cause awareness, but provides great insight into mindless and emotional eating.
  • Weight loss goals. You should never start a diet of any kind without pre determined goals and time frames or dates to reach them are what make goals goals. It’s a good idea to write your end goal and weekly or monthly goals on the very first page of our journal. If you physically look at your goals several times a day, they can take over your life, and make something happen.
  • Sleep patterns. In case you weren’t aware, quality sleep is vital to your health and your weight. The lack of sleep is a sure route to obesity, and you should see your sleep patterns improve as your weight decreases. Both depend on the best nutrition and physical activity. So, it’s good to make some notes about how your sleep is doing.
  • Exercise Details. Unless you have a separate journal for your exercise, keep a record of it in this weight loss journal. Regular exercise is 2nd only to your diet when it comes to losing weight and toning up. Both during and after my own workout I am aware of whether it felt like a strong session, weak session, or if I was having to force myself through it. Making notes of your own sessions will keep you motivated to burn more calories than you eat.

Detailed Journaling is the Answer. It’s the details you’re keeping up with that make the real impact on your weight loss.

With that in mind, don’t just list that you ate cereal, milk, and a banana for breakfast.

Instead, write the brand name of the cereal, the amount you’re having, the kind of milk and the amount and even the size of the banana.

It might sound like a lot of work, but as you do it more, you’ll get faster at recording all you’re eating and drinking.

Why Food Journals Work for Weight Loss

  • Awareness. As you see, food journaling increases your awareness of what, how much, and why you eat.
  • Mindless eating. Awareness helps you cut out that mindless eating. Mindless eating is an ingrained habit of most overweight people. Journaling is the best way to get conscious about your eating habits and triggers.
  • Identify eating triggers. Food journals also identify triggers to overeating that you can modify like stress or avoid idle time that has you devouring calories in front of the TV.
  • Recognize and pinpoint calorie sources. You might be surprised to find some surprising sources and amount of calories, that you’re drinking or snacking on. When your calories are out of balance, your nutrition and your weight is out of balance.
  • Balances nutrition. A healthy balance of carbs, fats, proteins, and fiber is the core of eating healthy, and eating healthy is the core of healthy weight management. And good management is always the result of responsibility and accountability.
  • Creates accountability. Most of us know all about the disadvantages of being overweight, but simply don’t hold ourselves accountable for what we eat or our weight. The most amazing and core value of journaling for weight loss is the new found responsibility for our self, our actions, and habits.
  • Establishes healthy habits. As human beings we are simply creatures of habit. In fact, most of our life and existence is governed by our habits. And habits don’t change easily. A food journal actually makes changing eating habits much easier to make healthy eating instinctive.
  • Keeps all efforts, successes, and failures in front of your eyes. I would say the journal will work even if you never bother to look back through it. It will work for all the reasons I’ve just listed. However, the beauty of journaling about your food consumption is the ability to use it for a “history book”. Looking back through it gives you the added advantage of seeing the things you’ve done right and where to focus for better results.

Food Journaling Works. Food journaling for weight loss makes you super aware of what, when, and how you eat. Staying aware keeps you focused to avoid the diet lifestyle.

The time and effort you put into food journaling is well worth it in terms of weight loss.

The real key is thoroughness and honesty. I’m guessing no one will be grading your journal, or even reading it for that matter? So, neatness goes only as far as you care for it to go.

If you’re diligent to keep up with the entries, I can’t imagine a reason you would ever be less than honest?

Journaling is a Life Changing Habit

Keeping a food journal will help you monitor (and stay accountable) for everything you put into your mouth. And long after you’ve reached and maintained your weight goal, you will reap the benefits without the journal.

You’ll get into the habit, rather quickly, of writing everything you eat or drink in your journal. It’s this attention to detail that produces a new and healthy attention to what you eat and how it affects your weight and long term health.

For some, the act of just writing things down is enough. It won’t be long before you find yourself turning away from food merely because you don’t want to write it in your journal.

Bonus Tip for Journaling

For even better weight loss results from your journaling try to find a dieting buddy. If you can locate someone else who is trying to lose weight to buddy up with, the support system is phenomenal.

This system relies on sharing your food journal entries, as well as possibly exercising together, and maybe even texting each other after every meal.

It’s All about Accountability. When you’re serious about losing those excess pounds, locating and taking full advantage of an accountability partner is indispensable.

How to Make a Weight Loss Journal?

There’s surely as many ways to make a weight loss journal as there are people with imagination. And the sky’s the limit when it comes to how much time you want to spend on your own version.

You can go spend as much as you like on any type of journal and use something like this page with downloadable cover and pages. You could merely scroll down the page and click on the large red words to download and print the various pages.

However, you could just as well stop by Walmart and pick up a spiral notebook, and merely put a date on the top of each page.

A lot of people are using the now famous bullet journals (which I find more confusing than helpful), and a lot of folks are doing searches for weight loss planners online.

In the end, I know I’m not much help on this subject, because I journal a lot, and never make too big a fuss over it. I just find a planner with blank pages that I like the looks and size — start journaling.


Without a solid plan to keep you headed the right direction, real and permanent weight loss is iffy, to say the least.

And a good weight loss journal is the best place to start your plan. If you’ve never kept a journal of any kind, it’s easy to confuse this technique with other types of journaling or keeping a diary.

Even though they’re all for looking back through, journaling your weight loss is different.

It’s for the express purpose of raising your awareness of just what you’re doing and not doing when it comes to your eating habits. You’ll keep track of your day to day activities when it comes to diet, exercise to reduce, snacks, water, sleep, and more.

Staying Thorough

Probably, the most important part of your weight loss journal or diary is staying thorough. If you want real results, make it a habit to write everything you can think of that has to do with your weight loss journey.

The whole process doesn’t need to be long, and the longer you practice, the quicker you’ll get. You might want to carry a very small pocket size notebook with you at all times to make really fast and short notes in, followed by transferring these to your journal or weight loss planner later that day.

Journaling Changes Habits

Doing that, actually reinforces all the nuisances of why you’re overweight, and what you can do to correct the problem. The rewriting goes a long way toward instilling new and healthier habits to replace the ones that aren’t so good.

Expect your weight loss journal journey to start solidifying, getting much simpler after about 3 days. Almost everyone actually finds themselves eating better, merely to avoid the personal feelings of failure.

Last of all, when it comes to the question “Can journaling help with weight loss?”, the answer is not if you don’t use it and review it. The good news is this: Journaling gets to be a snap very quickly, and will be the best tool in your weight loss toolbox.

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