How I Food Journal
Let me preface this by saying, this won’t work for everyone. Results may vary, and so may satisfaction :) Find out what works for you – but you have to start by trying everything!
One of the first things I did when I stopped making excuses was to start food journaling. Everyone talked about food journaling as super important, and I had made a few attempts before, including using a few iPhone apps and also Weight Watchers online (WW ‘offline’ is no longer in Italy, having left in 2006).
But those times didn’t work. Tracking what I eat, down the calorie and gram, isn’t fun. It’s not sustainable. At least for me.
So I decided this time around, I was going to track what I eat. But on a higher plane, not by counting calories, but so I could just keep track of what I’m eating, and also when I’m eating, to see what’s going on with me.
I thought I would share the file with you, as a Google Doc (if you aren’t using Google Docs, there’s really no excuse) that you can open and save as your own!
Here’s an intro to the main headings of my food journal – mainly, I tried to break up my day into chunks where I might most likely eat at breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner, and I wanted to track my coffee consumption, alcohol and post-dinner dessert separately. You might also want to include post-dinner snacking if you might eat after dinner (I never do).
I have columns for Weigh-ins (notice I track both kilos and pounds because of living in Italy) though I fill in this probably only 1-2x a week, Exercise for any and all exercise I do that day, and Other Notes. Other Notes at times are the most important thing of my day that I journal, and I might jot down notes about how I’m feeling that day (mentally, emotionally, or physically) or anything else that will help me process that day. It could be a sentence or two, or I might not take notes for a week.
I put in a sample day in the Google Doc so you can see how I fill things out, but it’s up to you how granular you want to track. I count the things that are easy to count and approximate for the rest. Remembering to glance at the size of your portions before you eat them will help you, too.
After tracking for a while, I figured out pretty easily that I get very very hungry between lunch and dinner, like clockwork. So much so, that I now always plan to have a snack in the afternoon in order to avoid getting reckless by dinnertime.
There are two other sheets on my food journal, one that’s more focused on the weight loss and another as a sort of “overview” dashboard of the weight loss. There are directions in blue about what to change and personalize. I definitely recommend inserting new days from the top down so you don’t have to scroll down to enter in the day’s journal.
Click on this link to get my Food Journal Template.
You can also get a cool weight tracking template from Roni of Roni’s Weigh, which is one of the sheets on my spreadsheet.