Control Your Weight By Recording What You Eat

If it seems as though you’re eating right but the weight isn’t coming off, one explanation could be that you’re overlooking some food splurges you’re making. If you’re sticking to a calorie count in an effort to maintain or lose weight, one little snack binge can throw you off track.

Yoga.Eat.Run. advises keeping a diary in order to get a handle on your food intake. A record of what you eat daily, annotated with results from regular weigh-ins, helps you evaluate which diet decisions work best for you. The act can be tedious and guilt-inducing at first, but can help deliver the results you’re after.

Just making the effort to maintain the diary can stifle your urge to overindulge. A flash-forward to the guilt of having to tell your food diary of your sins may be enough to keep you from making the mistakes in the first place.

Keeping a Food Journal [Yoga.Eat.Run.]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Cat says:

    I tried this.

    Burgers don’t have much to say.

  2. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    Isn’t this what people who count calories are supposed to do anyways?

    • kerry says:

      Yeah, I don’t really get how one can “count calories” without actually, you know, keeping track of what they eat. I’ve been calorie counting for about 6 months and I record essentially everything calorie-containing that passes my lips. It wouldn’t work if I only counted some calories but not others.

  3. dulcinea47 says:

    If you’re going to bother to record everything you eat, you might as well use one of the online sites (& corresponding phone apps) to count the calories in the things you eat, and to figure out about how many calories you should be eating, so you can just *know* what you’re doing wrong, instead of guessing as to whether you ate too much pasta or not.

  4. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    If you have a social message board you go to (like say you go to a Ford Mustang owners site often, and socialize on their non-topical board), post your diary of foods there. It’s people who “know” you, without knowing you, and they will be open to criticize/praise your progress. It’s putting what you eat out there, without putting it on something like your Facebook.

  5. Cicadymn says:

    I do this. I can get pissy when I’m at a restaurant with friends when the only options on the menu are terrible. Because I know my diary is going to be pissed at me.

    It’s just going to sit there, and stare at me. Judging me.

    That bastard.

  6. Sian says:

    If you’re not constantly miserable and eyeing the coffeetable and other family members as possible snackfood, then you probably ate too much.

    • bsh0544 says:

      If you’re constantly miserable and eyeing everybody else’s snacks, you need to fix your diet. That won’t work out well for you.

      • LadyTL says:

        But being miserable is what loses weight, cause that’s what everyone says to do. You really should believe everybody around you rather than actual science after all.

  7. ducktownhusker says:

    Somebody needs to keep a diary of Consumerist articles to see if it will help improve the content.

    • BDSanta2001 says:

      No kidding. I’m still grouchy over the “handwashing your clothes” article. WTF slow “news” day or what? Next article is going to be about the sky being blue, except when it’s not?

  8. BrienBear Thinks Stupidity Defies Logic says:

    I use ‘s android app. It’ll give you your BMR and tell you approximately how many calories to take in to lose X pds a week.

    I love it. And it has a hell of a lot of foods. If I can’t find it, I try to guestimate how much I’m eating and I try to OVER-estimate. It’s not perfect, but I’m noticing more what I’m actually eating and can stay within some guidelines/limits.

    • elangomatt says:

      I started using that same program recently. I have never kept up with a “food diary” before, but having the android app makes it pretty easy. I especially love the bar code reader. I haven’t really found much that isn’t in their database yet

    • pinkbunnyslippers says:

      My coworker turned me onto this and I love it. She just walked in with her “fit bit” today – it’s like a pedometer on speed; calculates how long it takes her to fall asleep, how long she’s active/sedentary, calories burned, etc. – and it all wirelessly connects up to her fitnesspal account when she gets close to the computer.

      It totally has helped me SEE that I’m not eating as little as I think.

    • sadie kate says:

      I adore this app. I started using it in mid-December and am down 19 pounds. The barcode scanner takes so much guesswork out.

  9. SpamFighterLoy says:

    Yep, we’re in full “mom blog” mode today. This is real hard-hitting stuff.

    • TheMansfieldMauler says:

      Next up: 10 household uses for club soda

      • ChuckECheese says:

        1. Mix with vodka; 2. Vodka. 3. Add to vodka. 4. Vodka fizzes. 5. More vodka. 6. Vodak; 7. Mix with vodka. 7. Combines well with vodka; 8. Have you ever tried it with vodka? 9. With vodka on the rocks; 10. Gin.

  10. IT-Princess: I work in IT, you owe me $1 says:

    Spark People is a good website that is free for recording your weight, eating and exercising habits and goals.

    I don’t like counting calories myself and don’t track what I eat.

    I have a set of foods that I eat each day and don’t stray. I don’t enjoy tracking and I feel like I worry less about all that. It’s less stressful overall and if I don’t lose weight I know exactly why without having to go through a journal.
    I am trying to get into the mindset that food is for survival only. However I have a very rigorous goal for this year and I’m not messing around.

    • little stripes says:

      I find the idea that “food is for survival only” to be really restrictive and depressing. Food is delicious and should be celebrated, but within reason.

      • IT-Princess: I work in IT, you owe me $1 says:

        I am an all or nothing kind of person. I find it difficult to open a bag of chips and not eat it all.

        I am trying to look at everything from a purely scientific reasoning and keep emotion out of it.

        On the other hand, I am never hungry, so I am not depriving myself of anything but taste.

        I really want to have an amazing body and now at 30 and single, it’s very very important to me.
        I have always been curvy but being sick last year put an extra 50 pounds on my 5’3″ body. I have dropped almost 30 of it already but I don’t want to just lose weight, I want to be healthy.
        That’s not to say I don’t still have bad days. My mom insists on leaving a giant bowl of Skittles on her coffee table and anytime I am there with my son she is ordering out because she knows I never do. So we max out on pizza and terrible things or go to the Sushi bar. But I anticipate for those times and try not to make it part of my daily life.

        • Cat says:

          “I find it difficult to open a bag of chips and not eat it all.”

          This is so me.

          “Just staring at the toaster while your eating a whole goddamn box of cookies? Did you ever do that? Isn’t it great?”
          ~ George Carlin

        • JennQPublic says:

          Don’t worry about when you will get to your goal, just know that you are heading in the right direction and you WILL get there.

          And it will taste MUCH better than Skittles. ;-)

    • Luckie says:

      I agree that SparkPeople is a great website. I use it myself. The food tracker helps me see that I am not eating enough calories and that I would probably feel better if I could force down 800 calories every day.

      Food for survival, indeed!

    • tooluser says:

      “…food is for survival only.”

      You are throwing away one of the greatest pleasures of life. That’s immensely sad. Now go to your cube and type.

  11. NPHighview says:

    Not snarky remark, but success. This worked for me, and how. I subscribed to CalorieKing (discounts through work), and religiously logged my food intake and activity, and lost 110 lbs over the course of 13 months. Still doing this, I’ve kept the weight off for a year now.

  12. Laura Northrup says:

    LoseIt app for smartphones. If you have friends who also use it, you can hold yourself accountable.

    • Fast Eddie Eats Bagels says:

      My wife and I use it. Pretty sweet app and it’s free for android.

    • Boo LaRue says:

      Great app and website!

      • Laura Northrup says:

        Ironically, I’ve gained weight since I started using it, because it made me realize that I wasn’t eating enough calories.

    • JemimaPuddleduck says:

      I used to use myfitnesspal, but I succumbed to analysis paralysis when trying to enter what I’d eaten – I had 2 slices of white bread, but there are 20 different listings for bread! All with different calorie counts – so I’d spend so long dithering and trying to figure out which one to log, it became far more of a chore than it should have been.

      Unfortunately loseit isn’t available on the android market in my country (and not being in the US makes the barcode scanner apps rather useless, as well)

    • James T. Savidge says:

      On my iPod Touch I’ve been using Tap & Track form Nanobit Software. With help from it, I’ve managed to lose 35 pounds and I seem to be keeping it off.

      The best advice I have for using it is when it comes to entering the amount of a food you consumed, if you don’t know the exact quantity, then estimate high.

      When it comes to exercise, underestimate the intensity of the workout.

      I also set my weekly goal to only 1/2 pound of loss per week.

      By doing that, and following the caloric targets suggested by the app, I was able to lose 30 pounds in 7 months, and I rarely felt hungry. In the following months I’ve lost a few more and almost reached a stable point. Not a plateau. I’m not very tall to begin with, and if I went much lower on my weight, I’d be getting so low they might not let me give blood any more.

      So for now, I’m trying to stay here and see if I can _slowly_ build up my muscles in exchange for the remaining fat I want to get rid of.

      Perhaps I should add a rating on the App Store about this :-p

  13. Firevine says:

    I’ve been using Noom for Android to do this. I lost 14 pounds in three weeks easily. This past week, not so much, but I also slacked off on it a bit this weekend.

    • techstar25 says:

      on Android I use a program called Lose It! which is a full featured dieting app (set goals, calculate daily calorie intake, etc), and it’s a great food journal to track calories. It lets you scan the barcodes of foods and looks up the calories for you so you don’t actually have to type anything in when logging.

  14. prezuiwf says:

    I use the MyPlate function on (which has an accompanying smartphone app as well). It tracks every calorie as well as your macronutrients and even gives you percentages of calories from fat/protein/carbs (a great feature for bodybuilders).

  15. ahecht says:

    Damn, I miss Thrifty ice cream. Nothing says quality like cylindrical scoops.

  16. duncanblackthorne says:

    What? Actually own-up to what you’re eating? Preposterous! People won’t do it, because they don’t want to know what they’re eating, mainly because that sweet dessert or other tasty treat they eat regularly is full of fat and/or sugar, they know it’s bad for them already, and actually having to write it down will force them to stop eating it — and they don’t want to, so denial ain’t just a river in Egypt is the order of the day.

    I keep track of everything, down to the gram, have lost over 120lbs, can leg-press 3x my bodyweight, and now race bicycles. None of this would be possible without being completely honest with myself about what I eat, and making the necessary changes. Stop lying to yourselves, America, and do it.

    • BorkBorkBork says:

      Good point. The smartest thing to do is flip any product around and start reading the ingredients list/nutritional facts. Many times, something that’s marketed as healthy and/or natural really isn’t, and I put it back on the shelf.

  17. pk says:

    Please stop reblogging these unoriginal advice columns from Yoga.Eat.Run. When you’re on a diet, you should count calories?? Wow! I’ve never heard that before.

  18. Flik says:

    This is essentially the point behind Weight Watchers online. Every food is logged, and you eat until your points are gone. It makes you aware of what you’re shoving down your pie hole, and makes you think twice before blowing all of your daily points on a double cheeseburger.

  19. DrPizza says:

    I hope that there’s an article tomorrow on what type of physical thing I should also do while trying to lose weight. Sit on the couch? Lay in bed an extra few hours in the morning? Sit at my desk for extra hours at work? Exercise? There are so many choices I don’t know which to do!

  20. Debbie says:

    I recommend It’s a free site that keeps track of the nutritional info of everything you eat. And the article is right: When you commit to write down everything you eat, you think twice before putting that overpriced gourmet cupcake in your mouth.

  21. jeni1122 says:

    I used Its free and allows you to enter other information like how much activity you have completed in a day.

    What I really liked about it was it graded you each day based on total calories, food nutrition, and total calories burned.

    Once I was recording everything, I really got a feel for how much I was actually consuming in a day. With some small tweaks to my diet I was really able to stabilize my weight and lose the last bit that I had been needing to take off, which for me at least was the hardest weight to lose.

  22. PeanutButter says:

    I’ve been doing this for a month and have already lost 11 lbs. It’s hard to mindlessly eat when you are tracking everything.