The best free food journals and how they can accelerate your weight loss
By Brittany Anas
Keeping a food journal can be a great way to start your diet. It’s also an important tool if you just want to flat-out eat healthier. Whether you track what you eat in a traditional journal or through an app on your smart phone, logging your food intake will help you figure out your nutritional pitfalls (read: the office candy bowl that you migrate to when you’re stressing). A food journal will also help you analyze if your diet is a well-rounded one.
Several studies have shown that people who log their food lose more weight and snack less.
Here’s our tips and tricks for keeping a food journal. It might feel a bit time-consuming first, but soon it will become second nature.
1. Find a food journal or app: If you like to put pen to paper, here are some free PDF’s that you can print out to keep your journal. Use a three-hole punch and put them in a binder.
• Food journal template 1 (great if you need a nudge to drink more water)
• Food journal template 2 (great if you’re also tracking fat grams or carbs)
• Food journal template 3 (great if you’re just getting started and need to decide which foods make you feel best).
Our favorite online tool is MyFitnessPal.
The SparkPeople Diet and Food Tracker app for your iPhone helps you look up the nutritional profile of thousands of foods.
2. Be honest. Write down everything that you eat. Yes, even those after-dinner peppermints count. And, so do those bites of dessert that you stole from your date’s plate.
3. Know how much your eating. Invest in a food scale. The Biggest Loser food scale from Wal-Mart for $17.97. This scale will also display levels of fat, saturated fat, protein cholesterol, carbs and sugar. Use measuring cups for your cereals, pasta and snacks. These tools will help you from guessing how much food you are eating.
4. Track extras. Tally every glass of water you drink and aim for eight glasses a day. Make sure you’re eating a serving of fruits or veggies with each meal. Record what kind of physical activities and exercises you do.
5. Write down how foods make you feel afterwards. Using this technique will help you decipher which foods give you the most energy and make you feel full versus those that make you feel sluggish and are “empty calories.”
6. Track your weight and measurements. Weigh yourself once a week, at the same time each week. (Your weight will fluctuate a couple pounds throughout the day, so weighing yourself at a specific time each week will give you the most accurate results). Record your weight weekly. Even weeks you’re not losing weight, you might still be toning up and losing inches. That’s why it’s important to take measurements every couple of weeks.
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