The Body Project: Food Logs WTF!

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The Body Project: Food Logs WTF!

I am in my second week of keeping a food log. I am miserable. There is something frustrating and anxiety—producing about recording every ounce of food that you put in your mouth.

The general school of thought around keeping a food journal is that it provides an accurately written documentation of your eating habits, affording you the opportunity to spot the problem areas and fixing them. 

The reality is most of us are wrong or minimizing when we are asked, off the top of our heads, to recall our eating habits over a week’s time.  We’ll forget that Venti triple shot latte that we had on Monday and Tuesday. Won’t consider the bowl of popcorn, with the extra butter, that we scarfed down as we worked on that last minute project at midnight. Or the five shots of tequila at the office party. These are those hidden/forgotten calories that add to the bottom-line (pun intended) when it comes to weight gain or loss.

I have my food log loaded up on my computer. I am keeping track of the date/time, portion size, food item, how I felt before I ate, how I felt afterwards, and the location of the meal.  Some people also keep track of their calories but I am more interested in portion sizes, and I was already too frustrated with the process to figure out how many calories in one grapefruit-flavored jelly bean.

I input the information on the chart within 15 minutes of finishing my meal, in hopes of being as accurate and truthful as possible. In the two weeks that I’ve been keeping track I now recognize how many times I eat most of my meals, when at home, at my desk. The chart also tells me that I wait too long between meals to eat, accounting for my “feelings before eating” to always be “starving!

A nutritionist friend looked over my chart and noted that the other reason that I am always hungry is that I am not eating enough. That is paradoxical information for a fat girl to digest (giggle). I am averaging about four meals a day when I should be shooting for 5-7 small meals. With my rigorous workout schedule, and all the other responsibilities in my day, I need to be sticking something in my mouth every three to four hours (fruit, a cube of cheese, tea) to take the edge off and not create the urge to binge during my next meal.

NOTE: I have not found that drinking water quells my hunger pains, but I am peeing my brains out.

Although I’ve committed to keeping the log for at least 30 days, I’m not sure keeping it is having the desired effect—psychologically. Yes, I can spot my problem areas and I am impressed that 95 percent of my meals have been cooked at home, but thinking about food all day is exhausting. When am I going to eat next? Was that a large banana or a medium? What constitutes a serving and where the hell is my food scale? This constant interaction with my food choices is maddening. I don’t like it. Of course I understand my mindless and indulgent eating is what got me in this bind but this new habit has been an uncomfortable fit.

What is your experience with food logs? Were they instrumental in helping with your weight loss/food goals? And check out my video whinefest (below) about my third day keeping a food journal. I am such a baby…lol

Michelle Sewell is a freelance writer and founder of GirlChild Press. The Body Project is a weekly series.

Comments [11]

NCSha25's picture

Good Luck to you

Maybe I should try this for myself. I don't usually "diet" or I won't lose a thing. I haven't really kept track on paper of what and when I eat but I do try to think before I go for it most the time. I got asked twice last week how much I'd lost so apparently people see some change, so I'm glad for that at least.

spanishstud's picture

You are on the right track

You are on the right track Michelle Smile Keep up the good work.  I have kept a food log to keep track of my calories but that's all I write down for myself.  I don't eat out at all and cook 100% of the time at home.  I have found this has helped me a lot with my weight and fat intake.  Once again, Good Luck Smile

Only you that is in me can hear what I am saying.

FrostBitTit's picture


Michelle - good for you in committing to keeping a diary.  Although I despise using one - I did for 30 days and it was an eye opener to what I was eating - but I became obsessed about it all and discovered that I just didn't eat nearly enough - it was weird.  So now I think of eating as 'clean' as possible.  Vegs/fruits/grains/protein - and I just do the best that I can everyday.  I also work my ass off at the gym 5x a week - and stay away from alcohol (kinda).  hehe

I understand that it takes a person 30 days of continued behavior in order for it to become a habit.  Just keep plugging away and eventually your new regime will come naturally to you.  Oh - and add weight lifting to your exercise regime and watch the pounds melt away (I promise).

Good for you - and I look forward to hearing about your progress!   You can do this!


Tex's picture

Food Log! Couldn't have done it without it!

I was a rather rotund woman at one point in my life. I don't want to trivialize weight loss for sure ''cause it wasn't easy, but I lost weight by cutting my calories and exercise. 

On the food side of things, I didn't change my eating habits that much - pretty healthy anyway, I don't like sweets and had been on a low fat diet for years (dad had first heart attack while I was still living at home - learned all about a heart healthy diet). My problem lies with dips and chips, so I didn't keep them around. Anyway, I cannot lose weight with any other type method. When I feel deprived, I eat. I cut my portions and made sure I ate a healthy snack every two hours between meals (favorite was apple/celery/peanut butter). As for the water, keep drinking the water. I substituted no calorie flavored water for juice and pop so as not to feel deprived of either. I also drink non sweetened iced tea. Tea and water are natural diuretics. Keeping your body flushed is a very very good thing - essential to good health.

On the exercise side. When I started the exercise part, I couldn't even walk with my hands up chest high by my side - my arms gave out. I got some hand weights, a cheap exercise bench, and made a work out play list. The walking started from gentle and got to the point of power walking. The exercises I did were the ones I learned back in elementary p.e. (If you don't remember them, download the Army exercise handbook). The exercises were nothing fancy and familiar...and hard as heck to do when I first started. I broke my back when I was 10 (fell out of a tree) so I have arthritic issues at the broken vertebrae; therefore, I have to do reverse crunches on the bench and watch exercises that cause more damage than good. The play list was for dancing! Yep, I turned on the tunes and danced....and danced....and danced. The dancing was fun and so was making the playlist! AND, as far as that dancing goes, ti limbers you up in all the right joints, if you know what I mean!

Now, as for that food log thing, I got a stenographers notebook and put it on my kitchen counter. Every time anything went in my mouth each day, it went in the book. I simply put the number of calories to the side. When I got to 1200 calories I was done for the day. And oh yeah, I never ate anything after 5:30 pm - nothing (food wise)!

I found later the diet secret of a lesbian icon - Dolly Parton. Dolly's take on eating is,  "Eat anything you want, but only eat three bites of it." It's simply stated, but very good advice.

Needing to this again,


Twitter Time @kdhales

FrostBitTit's picture

Rub a Dub Dub

need a back massage, honey??

Tex's picture


always....always need a back massage. Keep the massage oils ready. 

Watching Gold Rush Alaska. Got a gold claim we can work?

Twitter Time @kdhales

FrostBitTit's picture

Pot of Gold....

there's gold in these them hills....(did that sound hillybilly-ish?)


Tex's picture


Thar's gold in them thar hills! Spoken with my most hillybilly-ish accent!  


Twitter Time @kdhales

Robin Rigby's picture

I use the Lose It iPhone app

I use the Lose It iPhone app to track and when I'm unsure of quantities I overestimate food and underestimate exercise. My main goal has just been to get in some form of exercise every day.

Rockets's picture

I was scrolling down to

to add my two bits - but you beat me to it. I love Lose It - it's awesome (when I'm on the wagon) lol

and yeah Keeli's right - free is def. a bonus!

Visit the FREE Lesbian Coloring pages at ~

Keeli M's picture

nice tip

and naturally it's free Wink

blow up my ego @lvrandafighter