Journal Tips To Help You Lose Weight

Journal Tips to Help You Lose Weight

Monitoring or keeping track of your dietary intake is an important part of establishing healthier eating habits. Putting it down on paper pushes your awareness to a level that you did not have before. People who keep food records are the most successful with weight loss. 

Documenting dietary intake causes individuals to think twice about selecting healthy foods and snacks that are correctly sized. They also are able to identify individuals, situations, and times of the day that they are more likely to overeat. Keeping a journal makes you stop and reflect on the HALTSBV triggers (hungry, angry, lonely, tired, stressed, bored, and viewed or smelled it), instead of mindlessly eating. 


  • You are accountable for your intake
  • You are accountable for your weight
  • A food diary helps you tie these together

When writing in your journal:

  • Make honest and accurate entries
  • Keep your entries specific
  • Record timely entries by carrying your journal with you, whenever possible

Keeping your journal

You should begin making entries in your daily journal the moment you wake up. The following descriptions will help you know what information to record in each column of your journal. 

What day and time?

  • Write the day of the week in the upper left-hand corner
  • Write the time of day for each eating and activity or exercise entry

What type of meal?

  • Enter a B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner, or S=snack to describe the type of meal or snack you are eating 

What portion   size?

Use the following guidelines to help you estimate portion sizes:

  • ½ teaspoon=a fingertip
  • 1 teaspoon=a thumb tip
  • 2 tablespoons=1 golf ball
  • 1 small fruit=a computer mouse
  • 1 medium fruit=baseball
  • 1½ ounces cheese=6 dice
  • 1-2 ounces snack food=small handful
  • 3 ounces=deck of cards or palm of hand
  • 1 pancake or waffle=a 4″ CD
  • 4 small cookies=casino chips
  • ½ cup fruit, vegetable, or cooked cereal, pasta, or rice=1 small fist
  • 1 tortilla= a small 7″ plate
  • 1 muffin=1 large egg

What food or beverage did you eat or drink?

  • Literally, write down everything that enters your mouth, even water, vitamins, and herbs 

Where were you?

  • Write down the specific location where you were while you were eating

Who were you with?

  • If you were by yourself, write “alone”
  • If you were with other people, write down your relationship to the person you were with or the person’s name

Why did you eat?

  • H=hungry
  • A=angry
  • L=lonely
  • T=tired
  • S=stressed
  • B=bored
  • V=viewed or smelled it

If none of these options describe why you ate, write the reason in the space provided.   

What activity or exercise?

  • If you were doing another activity while you were eating, write it down in the space provided
  • Also include a description of any activities or exercises that you did, such as:
    • Gardening
    • Raking leaves
    • Vacuuming
    • Walking
  • Make sure you document the total amount of time you spent performing the activity


What Day and Time?

What Type of Meal?

What Portion Size?

What Food or Beverage Did You Eat or Drink?

Where Were You?

Who Were You With?

Why Did You Eat?

What Activity or Exercise?










C=cup, fl oz=fluid ounces, oz=ounce, pkg=package, Tbsp=tablespoon


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