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A Daily Food Journal - Worth it?

Interestingly, some of the things that you need to do, to lose weight, have nothing to do with eating the food itself. Here’s one – maintaining a food journal, i.e. a list of ALL the things you eat every day, helps you to lose weight. How does this work?

Often we eat food unconsciously. We eat because we are bored, tired, stressed, when watching TV or reading a book, not really paying attention to what we are eating and how much we are eating. Writing it all down brings it to the forefront of our consciousness. We become aware of what we are eating, how much we are eating. Suddenly the weight gain is no longer a mystery

I started by writing down each and everything I ate every day. But it was just a list and not of much value. The breakthrough came when I made a chart! Here I included data – how much protein and how many calories were there, in 100g of that particular food.

Then I wrote down every day, how much of each food I ate.. Yes, I weighed it!

Some interesting facts emerged. By totalling the columns, I figured out how many calories I was eating and whether I was getting enough protein or not (always a concern for someone on a plant-based, whole foods diet). So now I knew if I was on track or not.

Secondly, it threw up some surprises. Peanuts (Boiled or Roasted), Chana (Roasted), Nuts of all kind (walnuts, almonds, etc.) are high-calorie food. 100g of nuts have over 600 calories, compared to less than 100 calories per 100g of fruit or even 110 calories per 100g of rice. So proceed with caution with nuts – a small handful (one ounce – 30 g) is enough for a day

A couple of caveats though. This kind of weighing and eating cannot be carried out for a long time. It is too tedious. And you can do it only when you are at home! You cannot carry a weighing scale to the office or a restaurant! The lockdown and Work-from-home Helped here; I could do this for a couple of weeks – that’s long enough, to figure out what is going on, and how much of food I need to eat. You don’t need to do it for longer than that.

Now I can help myself to a portion of food and know that if it is good enough for me or I need more. Hunger and appetite, of course, are more reliable indicators. If I still feel hungry, I eat, take second or third portions! And of course, this system works when you are eating simple food—fruits, Vegetables, Rice, Dal, Nuts etc. Then you can weigh each one separately and note it down. If you have Hyderabadi Biryani with Boondi Raita and Mirchi Ka Salan, things become more complicated 😊 In fact, unmanageable 😊

Image Credit : Honza Kahanek

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