Why I’ll Never Use a Food Journal Again

Me enjoying myself at the Chocolate Museum in Barcelona last fall—sans food journal.

Me enjoying myself at the Chocolate Museum in Barcelona last fall—sans food journal.

You guys…I wrote a guest post for The Real Life RD, one of my favorite blogs! It’s actually one of two posts I did for the site (the next one will go up tomorrow), and it’s all about how and why I broke up with food journaling (for a while there, it was one of those toxic relationships I just couldn’t kick). Here’s a preview of the post:

Last week, I was going through my phone and deleting old apps when I came to one that gave me pause: my food-journaling app. A few years ago, I used the app diligently, logging every morsel that went into my mouth. Not even my daily gummy vitamin was safe from my log.

The funny thing is that when I started trying to eat healthier and exercise regularly—sans food journaling—I didn’t particularly want to lose weight. But after having spent a few months of working out and eating more produce and lean meats (at least some of the time), the number on the scale hadn’t budged. I felt like it probably should have, which is why I looked into food journaling as a way to help me see tangible results from my new, healthier lifestyle. (After all, I’d read somewhere that research showed keeping a diary of your eating choices could help you lose weight.)

I set my daily caloric goal at 1,200 calories (not counting those I burned through exercise), figuring that even if I went over by 150-200 calories, I should still be on a path to weight loss. And if I actually stuck to 1,200 a few days a week? All the better.

In a sense, food journaling “worked”—I ended up losing 20 pounds. Granted, I had no business losing that much weight in the first place. But the more I got into food journaling, the more I became obsessed with calorie counts and adhering to my allowance. Which is why, even though I didn’t really feel like I needed to drop that many pounds going into food journaling, I ended up using the technique (along with the restrictive eating and extreme exercise it encouraged) to lose almost 15 percent of my starting weight.

You can read the rest of the post at The Real Life RD, but I’m curious—has anyone else found food journaling as triggering as I did? If so, did you abandon the habit for good, or did you find a way to come to terms with it? I’d love to hear about your experiences!

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3 thoughts on “Why I’ll Never Use a Food Journal Again

  1. I did WW for a while and had some success with tracking what I ate. However, when I tried to transition to doing a food journal, I got super neurotic about it, and it completely changed my relationship with food for the worse! I totally agree with it being triggering. We need to listen to our bodies and see food as fuel and not just the numbers!

    • Thank you for your comment! I think a lot of people have shared our experience. So glad I realized that food journaling wasn’t doing me any favors and am no longer obsessed with it.

  2. Hi Robin, I actually linked over from your post on The Real Life RD, I completely agree! Food journaling, although successful for my weight loss did absolutely nothing positive for my anxiety or relationship with food back in college. Now I’m trying to lose weight again and am going sans food journal, no need to bring that negativity back in my life!

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