How to Keep a Food Journal

At the start of this 21-day experiment, I vowed to keep a food journal, something I typically resist. Update: It’s been going…pretty well! Now, I can’t say that I have kept meticulous daily records of everything I have eaten, no matter how good or bad, with notes on my hunger and fullness levels before and after. What I can say is that I’ve been happily consistent, which is the key.

For my food journal, I’ve been using Xerox copies of the log that Heather has in Bread is the Devil—it looks like a big chart for the week, with boxes for all meals and snacks. What I like about this method is that you can get a bird’s-eye look at a full seven days of eating. This is helpful for two reasons: One, when you’re on a good-eating roll, it’s motivating to see lots of boxes full of on-plan notes. And two, when you’re not on a good-eating roll, you can quickly pinpoint where, exactly, things started veering off and then get right back on track. I’ve taken to circling my healthiest meals at the end of the week—more positive reinforcement for myself when I can see, say, 38 out of 42 boxes circled as good examples of healthy eating.

The thing about food journaling is that you have to make it work for you. That might mean you journal on a website like, with an app like Lose It!, or in a simple spiral notebook. It doesn’t matter how you do it—you just need to do it.

What’s your favorite way to food journal?