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6 Effective Ways To Use A Food & Mood Diary To Lose Weight (And Keep It Off)

When your weight loss goals fall short, sometimes its not about your willpower but rather your daily habits that let you down. This is where a food diary can be such a useful tool for managing weight loss and in helping to change habits and behavior around food. Tracking your habits, food (and even moods) can highlight any negative or interfering patterns, and clearly identify where you might be tripping yourself up.


6 Effective Ways To Use A Food & Mood Diary To Lose Weight (And Keep It Off)
6 Effective Ways To Use A Food & Mood Diary To Lose Weight (And Keep It Off)

Keeping track of not just what you eat, but also when and where you eat (including your mood) over a period of days can be so eye-opening. Using a diary in this way to track things, you'll be able to quickly identify the foods and eating habits that could be sabotaging your weight loss.


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6 Effective Ways To Use A Food & Mood Diary


Uncover Poor Eating Habits


Where you eat matters just as much as how much you eat or the food choices you make daily. We've all eaten on-the-go before and perhaps were too busy gulping that burger or sushi to pay much notice to how little we chewed our food, if the portion size was reasonable, or how if the ingredients were wholesome. We just needed to satisfy that urgent pang of hunger, right?


Imagine though, if you had to record how many times you ate on the run like this. You might just uncover an eating habit that is stalling your weight loss. Keeping a food diary puts you under the microscope and helps to expose disordered eating, binges and highlights where change needs to happen. Recording your eating habits is an excellent way to bulletproof your weight loss efforts.



Maintain Portion Sizes


When you eat too quickly, its easy to consume unwanted calories. A rushed meal can mean you might overlook portion sizes and tip the balance of a calories deficit. This undoes all your hard work. Maintaining portion sizes is key and charting them on your food diary is an excellent way to make sure you are staying on track.

Shhh... I'll let you in on a little secret; your stomach is the size of your own fist. Yes, it swells like a balloon if you overeat but the sensation of this is often delayed. It can take up to 20 minutes for your stomach to sense that it is beginning to fill up with food. By the time you physically notice, its often too late. Portion size matters whether you are on a diet or not!

Be Held Accountable


Purposefully taking the time to record your food choices right down to every drink, supplement and mouthful, like I mentioned above, forces you to become more mindful when it comes to food. It helps you second-guess whether you need that third salted caramel latte, sugary dessert or extra serving of Aunt Bev's famous potato bake. If you have to chart it, then it may make you think twice about consuming it. This is especially true if you are participating in the 3 Day Food & Mood Diary Review with me, or working with another accountability partner where you have to show what you have consumed each week. There is no escaping a poor choice that goes against your end goal!


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Learn What Is Missing


Using a food diary helps you track not just your portion sizes, in addition it helps you doublecheck that you are getting a wide variety of nutrients and macros each day. When you know what a healthy balanced plate looks like (which I teach in my 3 Day Food & Mood Diary Review), you can easily spot the deficiencies and make adjustments.


A diet lacking in several servings of phytonutrient-rich greens, and high-fibre fruits and vegetable each day can lead to weight gain. Each day you need a balance of dietary fibre found in plants, fruits and vegetables, and combination of healthy fats and lean protein. When one macro is absent, the trickle down effect can stall weight loss, lead to gut issues and other health conditions. Use a food diary as a way to ensure a well-balanced diet.



Spot Possible Food Sensitivities


Do you ever notice that you tend to lean towards certain foods; maybe because they are quick to make and because they just taste great? You may even find you crave these foods...a lot! This is often very telling and in some many cases can indicate food allergies or sensitives. These can crop up at any time in your life and are an indication your body is under stress. If you are on a weight loss journey and have hidden sensitivities these can lead to bloating, food cravings, IBS, and stubborn weight gain.


Tracking the foods you eat and how you feel afterwards is one the key uses of a food dairy in a clinical setting. This can quickly highlight troublesome foods under the care of a skilled practitioner. Many food sensitivities can cause bloating and trigger gut health issues, which can make weight loss a challenge.


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Its All About Timing


When are you eating? The timing of food matters. First thing in the morning the body is receptive to digestion but this peters off later in the day and into nighttime. So if you are regularly skipping breakfast and loading up on a late lunch and dinner, this can prevent your desire weight loss. The bulk of your calories are being consumed too late in the day to burn them off and the unused energy get stored as, you guessed it, fat.


Noting the time of day for meals can be very helpful in identifying problems such as the tendency for enjoying sugary snacks in the afternoon, late-night snacking, or disordered eating habits. Planning 3 square meals and healthy snacks (as needed) into breakfast, lunch and dinner, is the best way to keep on track with your weight loss. Use the food diary to check that you are in fact fuelling your body when its primed to digest and utilise food.



As you can see, keeping a food diary has many benefits and can help you spot unhealthy patterns, or where you might need to make changes. I encourage you to try it for a few days and see what you can discover about you eating habits. Some key things to consider are:

  • do you eat enough vegetables and fruit each and every day?

  • do you eat enough dietary fibre, protein and healthy fat from wholefood sources?

  • do you consume foods or beverages with added sugar? If so, how frequently?

  • are your moods affected by your food choices or is the reverse?

  • do you crave or eat unhealthy snacks when tired, upset or stressed out?

  • where do you usually eat and how often is it on-the-go?

All you need to keep a diary is a notebook or you can download a copy of my 3 Day Food & Mood Diary here. Keep one for at least 3 - 7 days and be sure to include one day over the weekend as our eating habits are usually different then than during the work week. What will you uncover?


Healthy + happiness,

Emma Lisa xx



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