Weight Loss Journal and Food Log

Many people who are working toward a weight-loss goal keep a weight loss journal. Using a food log or other journal tool can help you record your food intake, count calories, and keep track of other important information to lose weight successfully.


Watch Now: How to Set S.M.A.R.T. Weight Loss Goals

Weight Loss Journal Options

There are a few different ways to keep track of the food you eat each day. Some people use phone apps or websites to track their calories and daily exercise. The most popular apps include Lose It, My Fitness Pal, and Lifesum. Each food log includes a large inventory of popular foods so it is easy to track your intake.

Food log apps work well if you prefer digital methods for recording your meals. But a printable, paper food journal can be posted in a place where you see it regularly and remind you of your commitment to healthy eating.

When you use an app or website to log your calories, you don't see your actual food log unless you choose to. Your smartphone may be turned off and tucked away in your purse or briefcase. And when you do look at the app, you likely only see a day's worth of information.

But a food log printout can be posted in your kitchen where it is easy to see. That way it's hard to forget to log your food at mealtime or when you grab a snack. When you see your daily calorie intake, the food diary might also nudge you to make lower calorie choices. And your food journal printout can serve as a reminder of the good food choices you've made throughout the day, week, or month. 

Printable Food Journal

If you have decided to keep a paper weight-loss journal, follow these steps for success.

Step 1: View and print your food journal.

Step 2: Record important nutrients for each food that you eat. You won't always be able to fill in each column, but try to gather as much information as possible for the foods that you eat. Reducing calories is important, but getting enough of these essential nutrients will make it easier to lose weight.

  • Carbohydrate: Carbs provide energy so that you can stay active throughout the day. Good sources of carbs can also provide important vitamins, minerals, or fiber to build a strong and healthy body. 
  • Fat: Healthy fats, like those in nuts, fish, or plant-based oils, are important for healthy cell function in your body.
  • Fiber: When you eat foods that are high in fiber, you stay satisfied and feeling full for a longer period of time.
  • Protein: Foods like lean meats, beans, and dairy products provide protein. Protein helps you to build muscle and also helps you to feel full after meals.

Step 3: Add important lifestyle information, such as exercise, daily steps, and sleep data. Research shows that people who rest well at night and stay active during the day are more likely to lose weight and keep the pounds off.

Also record daily accomplishments, even if they are small. Giving yourself credit for all of the smart choices you make during the day will help keep you motivated throughout your weight loss journey.

Step 4: Analyze your weekly calorie deficit. If you eat the right number of calories each day, you should end the week with a calorie deficit. Use this printable form to track your progress from week to week. If you aren't losing enough weight each week, change your energy balance to make weight loss happen faster.

Keep in mind that if you prefer not to create your own weight loss journal, you can also buy one at your local stationery store. Several brands make different styles of journals that can help you stay on track with your diet and exercise program.

Weight Loss Journal Tips

Keeping an organized weight loss journal will help make your process more effective. But your food journal won't always be perfect. Keep these tips in mind.

  • Be patient. Remember that dieting is not an exact science. Sometimes it takes longer than expected to lose the weight you want to lose. Give yourself time and stick to the plan.
  • Enter food data at mealtime. To get the most accurate information, try to enter nutrient information right away when you eat. It's hard to remember portion sizes and food data later in the day.
  • Enter only what you eat. You don't have to eat each meal or snack listed in the food journal. For example, if you don't eat dessert, then don't fill in that row. Eating more often doesn't necessarily help you lose weight.
  • Plan meals in advance. If you schedule meals ahead of time, you'll be prepared with calorie information. You can even enter the information in advance. Some people prepare a week's worth of meals in an hour or two to make sticking to an eating plan easier.

A Word From Verywell

For best results, use your weight loss journal on a regular basis. Keep each day's food log and each week's weight loss journal to evaluate along the way. Then make changes and adjustments to your caloric intake or your daily calorie expenditure to reach your goal weight.

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4 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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