Monday, June 13, 2011

Online Food Journal

Recently I decided to start tracking my daily food intake.  I’ve heard before that this is one of the steps you can take to become a healthier eater.  Just seeing in print what all you put into your mouth on a daily basis can be a big reality check for some people.  Or maybe what you don’t put into your mouth too. 

A friend of mine agreed to be a kind of accountability partner for me with this.  I figured that we could start our very own “weight watchers” kind of thing.  I mean, it probably started out small with just a group of friends getting together on a weekly basis to chart their progress & encourage each other.  So why should I have to shill out buku bucks for that?

But she lives 4 hours from me.  So a face-to-face weekly check-in wouldn’t work.  Riffing off of what Weight Watchers Online provides for people, she created a Google Docs spreadsheet for us to log our daily food journals into.  We also log any exercise we do, what we think went well that day and what we can improve on.

Because I’m not always at my computer, I keep my food log in a small notebook on my counter & take it to work with me as well.  Then I update the spreadsheet when I can.  Lately it’s been once a week.  Then we can look back over our eating habits as a whole and make some connections.

After we started this, I also read that jotting down what you’re thinking / feeling / doing when you decide to eat is also helpful in targeting eating "triggers".  Like if you’re actually hungry or just bored or sad or it’s “dinner time”, etc.  I think that would probably be helpful too.

So far I haven’t been too astounded at my overall eating habits.  And some days are better than others, of course.  I do tend to skip meals more than I’d probably guessed, though, substituting mostly just crap calories for solid meals (i.e. popcorn & cheese slices for lunch).  And my water intake fluctuations wildly from day to day.  It’s interesting that it doesn’t normally go from horrible to great, though.  Usually it slides from horrible to less horrible to better to great and then back down gradually as well.  And when my water intake is worse, my grape koolaid intake increases and vice versa.  Not unexpected, but interesting to see down on paper.

Have you ever kept a food journal?  If so, did you find it helpful in your quest to be healthier?


  1. I learned that a better way to do this is to write down the ingredients of everything you eat. Supposedly, after writing down the 10-20 ingredients of common snack foods (and their 247 letter names), something as simple as "apple" looks very appealing. I tried it for one day, and I have to agree!

  2. Oh, that's interesting!! Thanks for the tip!