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Old 07-13-2004, 01:03 PM   #1  
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Question Has food journaling helped you?

I have a question for all of you who've used food journaling to help aid weight loss efforts -- has it helped you? Did you stop because it good to be too big of an adminstrative nightmare? Did you do it and find it unhelpful?

I've started, once again, using Fitday to track my food intake, but just wanted to hear some of your experiences with it -- anything that might be helpful/hurtful or whatever.
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Old 07-13-2004, 01:20 PM   #2  
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Default Totally works for me

I lost 60 lbs. in 6 months (from 205 to GW of 145) when I kept a "food diary." The only problem is that, once I stopped keeping track, I gained again. I think the secret is to keep weighing yourself after you've reached goal, and if you gain 5-10 lbs, go back to journaling until you're back at goal. I didn't do it online, though. I bought a simple notebook (since it has to go with me everywhere, I bought one small enough to put in my purse). Each day, I put the date at the top. Then I put "B" for breakfast on the first line, "S" for snack on the 2nd, "L" for lunch on the 3rd, "D" for dinner on the 4th, "Wt" for daily weigh-in" on the 5th, "Ex" for exercise (to keep me accountable for doing some) on the 6th, and "Total" for total calories consumed that day on the 7th line. For each meal, I'd write what I ate and the calories in each thing, and I try to keep my calories under 1200 for the day (which would be about 400 calories per meal if I don't snack); to find the amount of calories in something without a label, I just do an ask.com search and then write the number and serving amount in the back cover of the notebook for future reference. In the leftover space at the bottom of the page, I'd write how I was feeling that day and/or something motivational. Since I started again on May 14, I've lost 16 lbs and started playing tennis again. I know this probably won't work for everyone, but I've tried everything from Slimfast to the Zone diet to Atkins' to fasting. This is the only thing that worked for me. I think it's a little easier than doing it online because, unless you have a computer with an internet connection with you all the time, this is more convenient.
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Old 07-13-2004, 02:07 PM   #3  
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I canít even imagine how I could lose weight without a food journal. I donít know how I would know how much I ate if I didnít write it down!? (Yeah, did I mention? Only short-term memory when food and eating is concerned! )

Like you Lunula, Iím logging my food online Ė and I havenít found it to be an administrative nightmare at all. I log my breakfast and lunch (I bring my lunch with me from home) in the mornings. And I log dinner and snacks in the evening. I also log all my workouts.
My main reason to do this online is that I donít have to calculate the calories myself.

What Iím learning from keeping a food journal and keeping the calories Iím eating under control, is how my body works when itís losing weight. Iím constantly finding out how eating (calories in, but also what kinds of food), working out (calories out, improvements in strength, etc), and losing weight are connected.

And I still keep a written journal too Ė for the emotional and motivational stuff AmberSparks mentions.

Since Iím alternating between periods of losing weight and maintaining I have found that the easiest thing for me to do is log everything in weight-loss-periods. And during maintaining-periods I write down (in my written journal) what and how much I eat, how much I exercise and improvements. But I don't count calories. And I weigh myself every Monday morning.

And AmberSparks: congratulations on loosing 16 pounds in just 2 months!!!

Last edited by mette; 08-16-2004 at 11:59 AM.
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Old 07-13-2004, 05:38 PM   #4  
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I'm doing WW and they give us little weekly journals to track our food - I am not very good at it though!

That is my habit I am trying to get back into this week.
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Old 07-13-2004, 06:06 PM   #5  
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Let me start off with, I think it is a good idea, but I can't stick with it for more then 2 days.

I used to use Fitday, but for me, it was too much of a pain in the butt. I like the idea of writing it down in something along the lines of those little WW books.

But then again when I am having a bad day, I write it all down, but it doesn't stop me from eating what I want.

Today I had:
2/3 of a chicken club sandwhich & med. fries from BK
3 pretzel rods
a small bag of swedish fish
a bowl of leftover hamburger helper
and I am going to eat a large chocolate chip cookie next.

but I did have 40 oz. of Crystal Light

It was a busy/stressful day at work. Can you tell?

On a side note - Lunula, where have you been????
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Old 07-13-2004, 07:15 PM   #6  
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Hihi, Squeaker!

I've been...um...stuffing my face and too lazy & embarassed to post here. But, after being diagnosed with osteoarthritis at the ripe old age of 33, I decided to get my butt (did I mention it was bigger?) in gear and step 1 was checking these boards everyday!

And thanks for the replies, everyone. I'm really torn on this issue - I've read many things about how food journaling is a really good tool, but I've also read the flip-side that it makes those of us who are a bit compulsive about eating even more compulsive. Arg~
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Old 07-13-2004, 07:48 PM   #7  
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I have also tried but have failed miserably. I would always get upset with myself when I saw it on paper and would just usually get pissed off and throw the whole thing out the window.
Something though that did help me tremendously was journalling my weight loss and measurements. I would only do it every month or so and I was able to track my progress and see how far I had come - or where I was stalled.
Maybe a combination would work out? It just didn't for me. Having to face reality made me sick. *LOL*
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Old 07-14-2004, 11:08 AM   #8  
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Talking Compulsive? Oh yeah.

You're right about journaling encouraging compulsion. But for me, it made me be compulsive about the journaling instead of the food. I'm eager to write down that I only had 400 calories for lunch. Granted, I'm not so eager to write down when I cheat. What I usually do is write "cheater day" on the page when I know I've blown it for that day. I'm already upset that I blew my diet for the day. I don't see the point of rubbing salt in the wound by chronicling how many calories I just made myself sick on.

Something that helped me a lot at the very beginning (though I didn't seem to need it later) was writing suggestions on the page of what I should have for meals. Also, I totally avoid temptation altogether. I don't go to fast food places (unless it's Wendy's or Subway for a salad), I don't go out to eat, I don't buy foods without looking at the calories on them first to make sure I can make a decent meal out of the 400 calories I have to work with. I really miss going out to eat, but I realize that going out to eat all the time is part of what got me into this mess in the first place. I'll be able to go out again. But right now, it isn't a good idea.

Don't know if this helps. Hope it does. I'm sure you've heard this before, but it's all about what works for you.
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Old 07-14-2004, 12:24 PM   #9  
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BTW, AmberSparks, in your signature you ask who said, "**** is--other people!" It was Jean-Paul Sartre in a play called "No Exit"
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Old 07-14-2004, 10:29 PM   #10  
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I love this woman who writes the Skinny Dailey Post. Anyway, she's a HUGE avocate of journalling. I love her stuff (she's a great writer). So, I thought you might enjoy her stuff on journalling:
http://www.skinnydailypost.com/archi...y_archive.html
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Old 07-14-2004, 11:54 PM   #11  
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Thumbs up Absolutely!

I have lost 45 pounds since March, and I know that journaling my foods has been a critical component in my success. I use a software program called Diet Power, and absolutely I love it. It's extremely user-friendly, and provides so much nutritional information I find it enormously helpful, and not time-consuming -- which is really important to me. I'd used Fit Day in the past, and found it less convenient, and therefore didn't use it consistently.

Here's the system that works for me: I plan my foods ahead of time, so I always know I have something healthy on hand for each of my 5-6 meals/day....that way I'm set up for success. Then, when I get to work I just pull up an Excel page that I just keep ready for my daily use (I repeat some of my meals a lot, and also the 160 oz. of water is standard so I don't have to reenter it unless there's a change.) Then during the day, I just enter what I've had, carry home a printed copy (if I need to, usually it's just in my head) and then before bed I just hop on the laptop and spend like 5 minutes entering my eats and exercise in the software. I usually spend a little more time because I like to analyze my micronutrients for different time periods (ok, I'm a total nutrodork now) and also journal in it or plan on the calendar, or research manganese, or whatever.

At any rate, for me it has been enormously helpful, in that it has a huge database of items already (like Fitday,) but, unlike Fitday, it is possible to enter your own custom items and also create recipes for meals and then designate numbers of portions it yields and voila! you've got a pretty damned easy way of logging stuff. (I do it with actual dishes I make, as well as just grouping all of the stuff I KNOW I have in my breakfast, so I don't have to enter them individually.....drag and drop once and that's it.) Because it's easy and allows me to play with the information, I don't get bored, and I love getting the macro and micro awareness of my overall health picture....not just the items available in Fitday. I also set mini weight loss goals, and it calculates my metabolic rate based on my age, ongoing weight, rate of loss, exercise logged, food eaten, and menstrual cycle -- all information I've obviously given it! It probably sounds like I sell the stuff, with how I rave about it, but I truly just love it!

Overall, I like logging my foods because it helps me to maintain constant awareness and control, I take pride in viewing my history and progress, and if I go over in calories or fat or whatever in a given day, I can see how it's impacted -- or not impacted -- the big picture within a week.....so I can maintain an accurate perspective. I enjoy it's usefulness, and expect to continue to do so indefinitely, because of the nutritional resource it provides in managing many facets of my nutrition, not just my weight loss.

In reading over what I've written, I'm feeling a little concerned that I sound like I'm advertising the stuff (which I'm not) -- but not concerned enough to keep my mouth shut about my positive experience with logging my foods. Everybody's got to find what works for them, and my little system is one piece of a program that I know I will be able to stick with for the rest of my life, from loss into maintenance.

Lunula, have you read what the folks over in the Maintenance forum have to say about journalling/logging their foods? A good many of them do -- although certainly not all of them -- and they've written a bit about it.

Best to each of you -- just my perspective!
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Old 07-15-2004, 01:14 PM   #12  
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Sarah Ė great post! Youíre describing many of my own experiences with keeping a food log (and congratulations on your weight-loss!). Itís nice that youíve found a system that works so well for you.
I agree that keeping a food log helps maintain control and awareness, and as I said earlier: the routines to log what Iíve eaten are simple and take up a minimum of time.

As for the question if logging makes you more compulsive about food Ė I really donít know how it is for others, but Iíve found for my own sake Ė that itís a bit freeing. Itís not like I would have stopped thinking about what I ate and how much of it I ate Ė if I didnít keep a log. But now, as soon as the food is logged Ė I no longer have to think about it.
Iíve also found that having a plan, so that I know - more or less Ė what Iím going to eat during the day, helps a lot.
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Old 07-17-2004, 07:11 PM   #13  
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Thanks everyone for the replies and advice! I've kept up my food-log on Fitday all week and I'm going to make a goal each week to continue.
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Old 07-17-2004, 07:45 PM   #14  
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Thumbs up

Good job, Lunula....I wish you every success!
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Old 07-27-2004, 05:19 PM   #15  
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I follow Weight Watchers (well, sometimes), which means journaling what I eat. I've been doing it off and on now for six years. When I journal, I lose or maintain. When I stop, I gain. It is, for me, the "magic bullet," the "perfect pill," etc.

What journaling does for me is make me conscious when I eat and accountable to myself. I'm a big unconscious eater, which is one of the ways I relax. So when I journal, I get more tense! But that's the way it is.

I started at 274 pounds (gack) and am currently at about 206. I'm a slow loser, obviously. I had gotten down to the low 180s, but I stopped journaling and ... here I am. On Thursday, I'm rejoining Weight Watchers and getting back to the journaling.

By the way, this is my first post in Alternachicks. Fun group.

-- Lauren
274/206/down
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