Monday, August 7, 2017

The Importance of Keeping a Food Diary in Weight Loss Efforts

For those of you on a quest to improve your health, return to a more comfortable weight, or other reason, and you've embarked on the weight loss journey, I want to share why I feel it is important to keep a food diary during your weight loss efforts. But first I'll share a bit of background information.

I actually started going low carb back in May just before hubby and I took a trip to California to visit relatives.  At that time I weighed in at 154 lbs. and was not happy with having to buy larger size clothing, clothing with elastic waists, and things in general with my appearance.  At 5'2" tall I was feeling pretty lethargic and drab.

Mike and me standing inside a giant Redwood tree.

After returning from our trip, which was fantastic.  I decided to get serious and lose some of the weight I had accumulated which got me to this condition.  I had already begun cutting out bread in any form. So I then started eating smaller portions of rice, pasta, and potatoes. 

Not really getting much results from that, I then cut out rice and pasta from my diet.
OK, now something is moving.  Started feeling lighter, less bloated, and the mood lift was great too.  So I decided to cut out potatoes too.  Oh no, no more french fries???

It wasn't until I listened to a Podcast by John Tesh, "Intelligence for your Life", that I got wind of the Ketogenic way of eating.  Check this link to listen to the podcast, it's quite an eyeopener.   The Ketogenic Diet 101

I began doing online research about Ketogenic diet and learned about high fat low carb eating.  I cleaned out my pantry and replaced the canola oil with coconut oil and cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil.  Replaced the butter with canola oil for Kerry Gold butter from grass-fed cows.  Removed flour and sugar and replaced them with Almond meal, flax and coconut flour.  I hadn't had sugar for some time but got some Truvia for use in recipes that needed a touch of sweetness.  Over time I've researched new high fat low carb recipes and learned to make things like almond buns for those times you just want a bread-type accompaniment to a meal.  

So when does keeping a food diary help?  When suddenly your weight plateaus and you stop losing, or else you fluctuate up or down a pound and just can't seem to move on, that's when you turn to the food diary for answers.

Go back to see what you were eating when everything was working smoothly and the weight was coming off.  Sometimes it's that you've stopped having so much of a food and have added something in it's place for variety.  Try eliminating something for a week or two to see if that jump starts your weight loss again.  For me it was Monterey Jack cheese and I noticed I hadn't been eating as much bacon, and I couldn't get a decent avocado for weeks. 

Sometimes it's your macros (macronutrients - fat, protein & carbs) are off because once you lose weight you need to recalculate them and change distribution of fat, protein and carbohydrates.  It is a diet that is constantly recalculating to fit the needs of your body at the present time.  It requires diligence and some creativity to make interesting meals and snacks that keep you satisfied. A strict Ketogenic diet uses the macros of 75% fat, 20% protein and 5% carbohydrates with whatever amount of calories you need to lose weight.  So for example calorie-wise on a 1,000 calorie diet you would eat 750 cal. of fat, 200 cal. of protein and 50 cal. of carbohydrates.  Here is a link to the macro calculator I use that you can try to see what your macros would be.  Keto Calculator

I am happy to say that after stalling at 137/138 for way too long, I  modified a few things and after a few days I got on the scale and this happened - 134 pounds. 

So why is keeping a food diary important?

  • it keeps you accountable for calories and macros
  • it tracks changes in your intake
  • it lets you revisit what was working before you plateaued or stalled
  • it's evidence for when your physician questions what you've done to lose weight so effectively
There are online tracking sites that let you enter in your intake and calculate your macros but personally I am a hands-on kind of person and like the old fashioned "hard copy".  It might be residual thinking from my years as a registered nurse because we were told "if it's not documented it didn't happen."  I like charts and graphs, too.  

I hope you do listen to John Tesh's podcast and subscribe to "Intelligence for your Life."
If you've gone low carb or full-blown Keto please let me know so we can share the journey together.

Thanks for visiting my blog today.


  1. Thankfully I have never had to go on a diet, Carol, but I am sure the tips will help many. Thank you so much for sharing.

  2. We went low carb a year and 7 months ago...we both lost weight. Now we are just maintaining. We eat no bread or pasta, very little rice and potatoes, no prepackaged foods and no processed sugar. we eat lots of veg (mostly raw) all the fish meat eggs and dairy we want (within reason of course) berries and a half apple each a day. I did keep a food diary for about six months in order to show the doctor what we were doing. It takes very little effort on our part now that we are used to it.

  3. Thank you for a wise suggestion for health. Congrats, you made it happen. If I do, I'll illustrate every meal! Hahaha, it would be fun. It was me who made a GP laugh with my cartoons that showed how I fractured many years ago. "Sadami, in my long career, you're the first person! What a cute cartoon!" Best wishes, Sadami

  4. Hello, these are all great tips and advice. Congrats on your weight loss, your are doing great. I love the shot of you and your Mike at the big tree. Happy Wednesday, enjoy your day!

  5. Thanks everyone! I love the story, Sadami.

  6. What an encouraging and informative post, Carol. I have bookmarked the J.Tesh link.
    Needs some time to go through it but looks very interesting. I am on part of it at the time but not everything. Bit at a time.
    I enjoyed going back over a few posts and all I can say is I LOVE YOUR BLOG!

  7. I've been trying to cut the carbs in my diet and WOW ....not easy! Carbs is everything... Well! Everything I like. Lol....But to journal everything we eat is certainly a good thing. Thank you for such an interesting post.!!

  8. Thanks Julie and Hilda. Always a pleasure hearing from you ladies.

  9. Dear Carol - hooray for you. I really think there must be something to this type of diet. It certainly is working well for you. Loved your car show from the previous post. They certainly knew how to make lovely cars back then. Loved seeing the photo of you and your Mike together. You two look like two peas in a pod! Have a great day friend. Hugs!

  10. Great post Carol.
    I think it's so good and so helpful when we share stories, personal achievements like this.


    All the best Jan


So nice of you to visit my blog. I look forward to reading your comments.