Food Journal Reflection – Lessons Learned

According to a new study, keeping a food diary can double a person’s weight loss efforts. A food journal + reflection = success.

Lately, I’ve been eating mostly clean, but every day, I make at least one unhealthy choice.

Some recent examples:

  • Monday I devoured chocolate pudding and whipped cream while making dessert for my husband’s birthday and then had the dessert as well.
  • On Tuesday, I ate half of my husband’s leftover dessert from the night before. Sorry, Sweetie!
  • Wednesday I ate half of a can of Pringles for lunch. Once you pop, you can’t stop!

Accountability is a game-changer for crushing your goals.

Without a doubt, food journaling can take your clean eating to the next level. Let’s see what happens when this highly effective accountability tool is added to a week.

One-week Food Journal Reflection Goals:

  • See if accountability makes an impact on your food choices.
  • Learn to overcome any roadblocks to keeping a food diary.
  • And finally, navigate speed bumps that slow progress. There are plenty of speed bumps ahead!

Health Goals for the Week:

  • Clean eating – whole foods with little to no processing.
  • 8 cups of water a day.
  • Daily green drink.
  • Daily Supplements.
  • 4 Sessions of exercise during the week.
Food Journal Reflections: Eat clean and lose weight

Food Journal Reflection: Day 1

Morning:

I am motivated. The day starts at 5:30 am with 2 cups of water.

Front-loading water – Drinking 4 cups of water before noon, gives me a better chance of drinking all 8 cups by the end of the day.

7:30 am – I make 7 green-drinks-in-a-bag plus one for now in the blender. The prep time is only 20 minutes and I am set with an extra 2 cups of veggies every day for the week.

8 am – I drink 2 more cups of water which takes away my desire for the hot cocoa I was looking forward to earlier.

Remembering I have 1 last square of 85% chocolate; I eat it. Knowing I have to journal it, I almost abstain, but hey, it’s only 1 square. 85% chocolate isn’t too bad.

Afternoon:

1 pm – I take my vitamins before eating spinach, cucumber, tuna salad with homemade mayonnaise. 2 more cups of water with decaf cherry tea for flavoring. I’ve decided to count decaffeinated tea towards water intake.

After lunch, I want something sweet. I think about baking an individual sugar-free cake, but it sounds too heavy and the journal has me thinking of something a little less decadent.

I settle for a large ice coffee with a couple of drops of stevia and a cup of coconut milk.

Before dinner, we go kayaking and I assure my husband it won’t be tempting if he brings chips and salsa. The journal helps keep me on track.

Evening:

I am hungry when we get home and it will take time to grill the chicken we’ve marinated. Tablespoon by tablespoon I eat a cup of the hot steaming jasmine rice that has come fresh out of the oven.

Normally, I would eat the grilled chicken over lettuce, but the rice is tempting and readily available.

7 pm – Dinner is another quarter cup of rice, two grilled chicken tenders, basil, and some tomatillo salsa.

I am surprised how mindful I was about eating today, even with the white rice binge. Knowing I would later record my results helped me make better eating decisions.

There were so many times I was about to grab a bite of something and instead, the journal had me waiting for the next meal.

Over the next two days, I justify the rice as a whole food, but white jasmine rice is a simple carbohydrate and once eaten, the body turns it into sugar quickly. A complex carb like yams or a carrot salad would have been a better choice and just as fulfilling.

Coming home hungry with nothing healthy to snack on was a pitfall.

Only 6 cups of water, but I’ll drink all 8 cups tomorrow.

Food Diary Lessons:

  • The rubber band effect: when you pull a rubber band too tight it breaks and snaps back at you. Likewise, stretching your eating times too far apart can result in overeating.
  • Have healthy snacks available for those times when you are really hungry and need something to tide you over to the next meal.
  • Eat enough food so you don’t end up binging towards the end of the day.

Day 1 Food Journal Reflection Summary

  • Food
    • AM: 4 cups green drink, 1 square 85% chocolate.
    • Noon: Spinach, cucumber, tuna salad with mayo, iced coffee with coconut milk.
    • PM: Rice, grilled chicken breast, basil, and salsa.
  • Water: 6 cups
  • Green drink: Yes
  • Supplements: Yes
  • Workout: No
Food Journal reflections

Food Journal Reflection: Day Two

Morning:

Caffeine is on the menu first thing this morning after a bad night’s sleep. I drink hot cocoa with a splash of coffee.

Hot cocoa: 2 cups hot water, 2 Tbl. of Cocoa and a dash of sea salt.

Next, I make a cafe au lait with coconut milk over ice. I drink this with an egg and veggie scramble.

Egg and Veggie Scramble: 1-2 eggs, feta cheese, chive, mushrooms, spinach, hatch chili, and a spoonful of salsa.

When I return my plate to the kitchen, I grab a bite of grilled chicken from last night.

The journal is really making me think about every food choice. I also realize if I don’t start drinking water soon, I won’t drink 8 cups by the end of the day.

I plan to be at my son’s house for dinner while he tutors his younger brother. I’m bringing Papa Murphy’s Pizza. I plan to make salmon and veggies ahead of time so I don’t end up eating pizza.

2 days later…

Why do I struggle to keep a food diary?

Day one, I am mindful and on top of my meals.

Day two starts off strong, but life happens and happens and happens. In the middle of day 4, I realize if I don’t put everything aside and record the last 48 hrs, I won’t be able to remember it all. Let’s face it, day 2 is already fuzzy.

Food Diary Lessons:

  • Keep it simple. Journal in a note app that is easily accessible.
  • Setting alarms on your phone as a reminder to record your latest meals is extremely helpful.
Begin again: Food journal reflections

Food Journal Reflection: Day 2 – Revisited

The caffeine in the Cafe Au Lait has kicked in and I don’t feel hungry until it is time to take my sons to sports practice.

Afternoon:

At 2 pm, I’ve run out of time for making and eating lunch. So I quickly blend up a green drink and add a scoop of collagen to increase its protein content.

4 pm – 2 cups of water and leg day workout at the gym.

Evening:

6:30 pm – After picking up the pizza and groceries for dinner, I drink 2 more cups of water and eat a Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew Kind bar.

Some Kind bars are low in sugar and high in fiber making them a fairly healthy quick snack, but it isn’t until two days later that I look up the sugar content of the bar.

Unfortunately, it has 22 total grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fiber, and 11 grams of sugar.

I knew after the first bite it had more sugar in it than I wanted, but it tasted so good, I didn’t want to look!

7 pm – 2 cups of water and supplements.

7:30 pm – Jasmine rice, grilled chicken with fresh basil re-heated.

9 pm – Cherry soda water over frozen berries blended with bee pollen on top.

Food Diary Lessons:

  • Check the nutrition label on packaged foods before buying them. Simple, but I forgot.
  • A semi-unhealthy snack can be useful for making it to your next meal. Be flexible.

Day 2 Food Journal Reflection Summary

  • Food
    • AM: hot cocoa with coffee, cafe au lait with coconut milk, egg and veggie scramble, a bite of grilled chicken.
    • Noon: 4 cups of green drink with collagen.
    • PM: Kind bar, jasmine rice, grilled chicken and basil, butter, soda water with berries and bee pollen.
  • Water: 4 cups
  • Green drink: Yes
  • Supplements: Yes
  • Workout: Yes

Food Journal Reflection: Day 3

Morning:

I wake up well-rested and not feeling hungry. I decide to water fast until I feel hungry or until noon, whichever comes first.

5:30 am – 2 cups of water.

8 am – 2 cups of water.

Afternoon:

Noon – I have so much to do before I leave! While cleaning the kitchen, I whip up a green drink from my preassembled bags, eat 1 kippered herring fillet, 4 sundried tomato halves, the last bite of grilled chicken, and make a sugar-free iced coffee mocha to-go with a scoop of peanut butter powder.

After eating, I feel sick.

By the end of the day, I am exhausted. Waiting to eat until noon probably didn’t do me any favors.

Don’t get me wrong! I think intermittent fasting is great and enjoy practicing it, but not like that.

3:30 pm – 2 cups of water.

Evening:

6 pm – 1/4 cup roasted and salted almonds.

7 pm 1/4 cup red grapes and 5 chips with salsa.

7:30 pm steak and eggs with veggies and avocado for dinner. Finally, a decent meal!

8:30 pm – 1 cup of water with cherry herbal tea.

Food Diary Lessons:

  • Having a healthy meal planned for when you break a fast means you don’t fill up on whatever food is handy.
  • Take at least 10 min to sit down and enjoy your meal for healthy digestion.
  • Light snacks help you make it to your next meal and keep you from overeating.
Healthy food and weight loss

Day 3 Food Journal Reflection Summary:

  • Food
    • AM: water fast.
    • Noon: 4 cups of green drink, kippered snack, grilled chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, iced mocha coffee with coconut milk and powdered peanut butter.
    • PM: roasted almonds, grapes, chips, salsa, steak, eggs, veggies, and avocado.
  • Water: 7 cups
  • Green Drink: Yes
  • Supplements: No
  • Workout: No

Food Journal Reflection: Day 4

Morning:

7 am – 2 cups of water.

8:30 am – Large cup of ice coffee with almond milk. I am tempted to have more, but too much caffeine makes me anxious.

9 am – 2 cups of water.

Afternoon:

12:30 pm – Steak and egg with veggies and avocado. So filling and tasty.

2 pm – I like to have a little caffeine before working out. So I decide to have another iced coffee with almond milk while I get ready.

Remembering I haven’t taken my supplements or made my green drink, a green drink/coffee debate begins… Coffee wins and I have forgotten about the supplements.

3 pm – 2 cups of water and an upper body workout.

Evening:

5 pm – 2 cups of green drink. I don’t feel like drinking this but talk myself into it by remembering the journal and compromising with 2 cups instead of 4.

Tip:

  • When saving green drinks for later, fill them up to the very top of your container and then put the lid on so there is little to no air inside the drink. This reduces oxidation.

7 pm Sushi, pluot, and mineral water.

Food Diary Lessons:

  • Being mindful of food intake can cause you to eat less than you normally would. Make sure the meals you eat are nutrient-dense. Otherwise, your mind may trigger you into an overeating binge mode.
  • Caffeine cuts your appetite, but too much is bad for your adrenal system and can increase cortisol. Which in turn, increases fat accumulation around the midsection.

Day 4 Food Journal Reflection Summary

  • Food
    • AM: Iced coffee with almond milk.
    • Noon: Steak, eggs, and veggies with avocado, iced coffee with almond milk.
    • PM: 2 cups of green drink, sushi, and pluot.
  • Water: 8 cups
  • Green drink: Yes
  • Supplements: No
  • Workout: Yes

Food Journal Reflection Day 5

Crazy busy day. On the run all day and fueled by coffee and almond milk. I don’t take my own advice!

Morning:

6 am – 2 cups of water

7, 9, and 10 am – a large cup of iced coffee and almond milk. I was jacked! My poor adrenals.

Afternoon:

2 pm – I force myself to make 5 flour-free crepes. I drink the 2 cups of green drink left from the day before and take my supplements.

Missing the last two days of supplementation prompts me to move them on to the counter and make a plan to take them with lunch every day.

Flourless crepes: 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon melted butter, 1 tablespoon water, 1/4 cup of potato starch, 1 teaspoon coconut flour, and 1 teaspoon sea salt.

Blend and spread 2 tablespoons around the bottom of a small fry pan on medium heat. Flip after about 30 seconds. Eat plain or add fillings.

4 pm – Hamstring and glute workout with 2 cups of water.

Evening:

5 pm – pick up dinner and snack on 15 almonds.

Normally, being hungry and having a whole bag of almonds, would have tempted me to eat at least half of the bag. But again, the food journal encourages a smart decision.

6 pm – 2 cups of water and a nectarine.

7:30 pm – Large steak and bean salad with avocado and salsa. 4 cups of water.

9 pm – One of my sons comes home with a clear plastic container of fudge brownies topped with cream cheese.

The Debate Begins:

Nooooo! I immediately tell him to keep them away from me because I am trying to eat healthily.

Brownies in the house and I am watching a baking reality show with mouthwatering desserts.

When my thoughts turn to, “Just one bite” and “You know you will eat more than one bite.” I jump up and make 2 tablespoons of sugar-free and grain-free raw brownie mix, then throw in some frozen berries. This saves me.

Food Diary Lessons:

  • Taking only what you want to eat out of a full bag of snack food and then placing the rest out of reach, helps with portion control.
  • Keep your supplements where you can see them and take them with a meal each day. By attaching them to something you do every day, you create a habit that is easier to remember.
  • When a strong temptation strikes, look for a healthy alternative quickly!

Day 5 Food Journal Reflection Summary

  • Food
    • AM: Coffee, coffee and more coffee with almond milk.
    • Noon: 5 crepes, 2 cups of green drink.
    • PM: almonds, nectarine, steak and bean salad with avocado and salsa for dressing, raw brownie mix, and frozen berries.
  • Water: 10 cups
  • Green drink: Yes
  • Supplements: Yes
  • Workout: Yes
Food journal reflections

Food Journal Reflection Day 6:

I am looking forward to day 8 when I’ll stop keeping track of what I eat. There is a pressure to keeping track of every bite, especially knowing someone else will read it and possibly….judge.

Nah, you wouldn’t do that, would you? 🙂

The pressure is getting a little uncomfortable, but I haven’t had a week where I’ve eaten relatively clean all week in a long while.

Morning:

Again I am in a morning rush trying to get to a flag football game on time after sleeping in.

At 9 am, I have enough time to throw together a 4 c green drink and a coffee with almond milk to-go after drinking 2 cups of water.

The green drink is fairly thick at the bottom, so I end up adding 1 more cup of water to the mix to finish it off. Before getting home I drink 2 more cups of water around 11 am.

Afternoon:

At home around noon, I make a steak, egg, and veggie scramble and have flavored soda water.

3 pm – I am getting ready to help a friend paint her bedroom and crave something sweet.

I also know I’ll need a snack to make it to dinner. I add frozen berries to a bowl and top with sugar-free chocolate sauce. Then take my supplements.

Sugar-free Chocolate Sauce: 1 tablespoon of coconut oil mixed with a heaping teaspoon of chocolate, a pinch of salt, and 2 drops of liquid stevia. Mix and then poured over frozen fruit.

This makes the most delightful hard chocolate crunch layer.

4 pm – 2 cups of water

After we finish painting, my friend rewards us with her last two pieces of candy – chocolate and caramel over salted macadamia nuts!

They aren’t very big and I don’t think twice about taking it until it is in my hand.

Oh dear, now what. I had told her that morning at the football game how I was keeping a food journal this week and trying to eat clean.

I decide to enjoy this shared treat and savor every little bite. It was very good.

Evening:

Later on the way out of the grocery store, she offers me sour worms. Sour worms are not on my temptation list, so it was an easy “No, thank you.”

6:30 – soda water

8:30 – Corn on the cob smothered in butter, a bunless bacon cheeseburger with caramelized onions and barbeque sauce. The barbeque sauce has some sugar in it, but not too much in this brand.

Food Diary Lessons:

  • Once you have some clean eating days deposited into your health bank account, you naturally start making healthier choices. You start to crave less junk food and temptations are just a little less tempting. This allows you space to make better choices for your health. Health builds on itself.
  • It is the constant cheats that keep you in cheating mode.
  • It is important to experiment with food journaling. If it is causing too much pressure, take a day off. Continuing when you need a break can lead to a bad day of eating as you will read below.

Day 6 Food Journal Reflection Summary:

  • Food
    • AM: 4 cups of green drink, coffee with almond milk.
    • Noon: Steak, egg, and veggie scramble, soda water, berries with chocolate sauce.
    • PM: chocolate candy piece, soda water, corn on the cob, a bun-less bacon cheeseburger with barbeque sauce, and caramelized onions.
  • Water: 7 cups
  • Green drink: Yes
  • Supplements: Yes
  • Workout: No

Food Journal Reflection Day 7

The next day, I wake up to sugar cravings. Could that one candy and bbq sauce have caused this? I decide since it is my last day, to give myself a break and eat what I want when I want.

Not the best idea.

Morning:

8 am – I eat half of an orange, a reheated bacon cheeseburger with red bell pepper, chives, and salsa. Next, I snack on a piece of bacon and two slices of cheese.

10 am – Afterwards, I want something sweet and make a healthy banana split.

Healthy Banana Split: slice a whole banana and sprinkle with cocoa powder, a pinch of salt, walnuts, and coconut shreds.

11 am – 2 cherry tomatoes, hot cocoa with a splash of coffee and almond milk.

Afternoon:

Noon – 2 cups of water, a handful of almonds, leftover bacon and onions.

Evening:

5 pm – while watching the baking show (this might be a bad habit) I have a craving for caramel.

I try to make a cup of sugar-free caramel sauce to dip a green apple into. It’s kinda tasty, but I’ve used too much stevia and it’s sweet and bitter. I end up eating it all and drink two cups of water.

This not only ruins my appetite for dinner but makes me feel ill.

Food Diary Lessons:

  • Accountability is HUGE!
    • Knowing that I was going to write this post whether I finished the food journal this week or next made me push through resistance and falling behind.
    • It made me investigate what wasn’t working and what I needed to do to make this journal happen. I certainly didn’t want to start all over again next Monday.
    • So many times this week, I would have eaten overly processed foods, skipped green drinks and cups of water if it hadn’t been for this public journal.
  • While accountability is important, deciding to make smart food choices is just as important. If you feel pressure to take a break, take it. Eat a lot of highly nutritious food without keeping track, have a planned dessert. This is better than eating whatever you want when you want.
  • Being too strict with food can cause backlash and a need for a break. Make sure you eat enough and make room for healthy indulgences so you don’t feel deprived.
  • I feel really good when I eat clean, stay hydrated, eat my veggies, take supplements, and exercise. My mood is elevated. My mind feels clear and positive. I feel confident in my ability to make healthy food choices. My stomach is flatter. I wake up craving movement.

Day 7 Food Journal Reflection Summary

  • Food
    • AM: half of an orange, bacon burger with bell peppers and salsa, piece of bacon and two slices of cheese, healthy banana split, 2 cherry tomatoes, hot cocoa with almond milk.
    • Noon: almonds, bacon, caramelized onions.
    • PM: sugar-free caramel dip and a green apple.
  • Water: 4 cups
  • Green drink: No
  • Supplements: No
  • Workout: No

Accountability is an important key to unlocking your healthiest diet.

Weight loss is a side effect of healthy living which makes healthy ways – shapely ways.

Do you keep a food journal? Have you ever tried and struggled to stay consistent? What helps you stay consistent and accountable with your health? Please share your thoughts or questions in the comments below.

Thank you for being here and chatting with me about all things health. Health journeys made more fun when shared, so be sure to leave a comment below. ❤️

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April

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