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.

When you’re trying to eat healthily, do you ever find yourself making daily unhealthy choices? Ya, me too.

Those desserts, cans of soda, or bags of chips can wreak havoc on your health goals.

Eating Healthy doesn’t require you to be perfect, but daily deviations can easily turn into a downward spiral that takes you completely off track.

Here’s a 7-day food journal example that shows how keeping a diary can reveal off-plan eating and sabotaging bad habits.

But more importantly, how to fix bad habits with end of the day reflections.

Finding out when and how you’re undermining your health goals is important information you need to make healthier choices and live your best life.

Accountability with Food Journal Reflections

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. Watch how reflecting on results helps better decision making going forward.

One-week Food Journal Reflection Goals:

  • See if accountability makes an impact on 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 Journal Reflection 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.
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 Journal Reflection 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

Unfortunately, I didn’t read the label until after I ate the bar. It has 22 total grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fiber, and 11 grams of sugar.

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 Journal Reflection Lessons:

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

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 Journal Reflection 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

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:

  • Want to save your green drink for later? Fill your container to the very top with your juice.
  • Now, place the lid on so there is little to no air inside the container.
  • This reduces oxidation and helps your green drink last up to 24 hrs.

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 a binge.
  • 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.

Food Journal Reflection Day 5

Crazy busy day ahead, but after yesterday’s reflection, I make time for quick health meals.

Morning:

6 am – 2 cups of water

7 am – a large cup of iced coffee and almond milk. I was jacked!

8 am – egg and veggie scramble.

Afternoon:

2 pm – 5 flour-free crepes filled with shredded chicken and homemade dairy-free dressing. 2 cups of leftover green drink and 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 almond 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 – 2 cups of water.

Evening:

5 pm – 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. It’s enough to keep me on track and away from the highly processed, extremely tempting junk food brownies.

Food Journal Reflection 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!
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’m in a morning rush trying to get to a flag football game on time.

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.

11 am – 3 C Water

Afternoon:

At home around noon, I make a steak, egg, and veggie scramble and drink 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 cocoa powder, 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’s 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.

Food Journal Reflection 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’s the constant exceptions that keep you off track with health.
  • It’s important to experiment with food journaling. If it causes 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.

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 Journal Reflection 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 the food 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 binge eating. 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 clearer and more positive. I feel confident in my ability to make healthy food choices. My stomach is flatter. I wake up craving movement.

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 are made more fun when shared, so be sure to leave a comment below. ❤️

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April

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