Journaling & Keeping Records

- POSTED ON: Aug 13, 2012


I consistently record my food intake and weight data in various computer programs.  I have now been doing this consistently every day for almost eight years. ..…. as of the time of this writing, for the past 7 years and 11 months.

The Computer and software program in which I record my food is a useful TOOL. There are many such food journaling programs,  but my own personal choice (at this time) is a program called DietPower. (Update 2018: My Recommended Food Journal for beginners is now  "My Fitness Pal". My behavior of RECORDING my food intake every day forces me to stay aware of my actions, and it keeps me out of Denial. I know what I'm doing, and what I've done, and I continually face my own actions head-on.

 Sitting at the computer and entering the daily data has become a Habit which …most of the time….is an enjoyable one.  It is sometimes emotionally difficult to actually write down Everything I've eaten, but in a way it's similar to a Catholic going to Confession. My frequent input of my total food information often brings a sense of relief and sometimes even personal Absolution, a feeling of pardon or forgiveness.

I am Accountable for my eating BEHAVIOR every day, no matter what it is.
My weights are the RESULTS of my eating Behaviors, and those RESULTS are actually outside my personal control. I am responsible for the food that I put into my mouth (my behavior). I am not responsible for what the scale says (my results) because I cannot control what my body chooses to do with that food.


I am responsible for my Behavior, but not for my Results.

The scale is merely a TOOL that reflects the total weight of one's total body, including fat, water, bones, fecal material etc. It shows the RESULTS of my eating BEHAVIOR.

The scale is without personality. It is not a Judge and Jury of my actions, but is merely a reflection of them.
Ones individual weight on one single day might not be very accurate, but
graphing many days of those individual weights gives an extremely accurate picture of the RESULTS of one's eating BEHAVIORS.

Weighing and recording ones weight every day can be emotionally difficult when the scale goes up. This is especially true when the entire weight graph shows an uphill pattern. Watching a downhill, weight-loss pattern feels very rewarding,

but watching an uphill, weight-gain pattern can feel demoralizing.
These are the times when most people choose to stop recording weights.
And, there are days when I feel very reluctant to write down what the scale says.  

There are weeks when I am very unhappy with my weight results,    and I sometimes feel that I'm having an uphill pattern that is unjustified,  but IT IS WHAT IT IS.  I cannot change what I will not face.

People who ACTUALLY keep records of their food intake ALL THE TIME, can gain a great deal of insight into the connection between their body size/weight, and their food intake.

Although I remain open to the knowledge and opinions of nutritional "experts", conventional wisdom or the knowledge and education of any such expert, cannot erase the truth that is shown in long-term detailed personal records.

Due to my consistent daily DietPower journal entries, I now have records of every day of my all of my food eaten since September 20, 2004.  This is just about 1 month short of EIGHT years of personal data.

That data is statistically correct, because all 8 years were handled by me personally, in the same manner.  I've consistently weighed and measured my food, read labels, and followed calorie counting charts.

If I've weighed and measured food incorrectly, or made calorie counting errors (which is impossible to avoid), those inadvertent errors are a consistent part of the long-term process.  Such errors would merely raise or lower the overall caloric levels but does not alter the weight/food-intake relationship.

On my ABOUT ME page here in DietHobby, under the heading RESOURCES, there are a great many links to weight charts and weight graphs showing many details of my first 5 years of personal record keeping.  If you have not done so recently, you might want to review these.  To do so, click the link above.

I also plan to soon write an article  showing detailed charts of my personal food intake, together with a SUMMARY of the relationships between my food intake and weights for the past 8 years.  Watch for it.  

Leave me a comment.

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Existing Comments:

On Aug 13, 2012 Selkie wrote:
Absolutely the truth! Calories do not tell the whole story. Keeping DAILY records in Dietpower shows me not only how much I can eat to lose/maintain/gain weight, but which foods of EQUAL calories will still put the pounds on vs. those that won't. Being accountable, however, is the main psychological support I get from journaling. The second I stop is the second I start losing control **even if I think I'm not.** I have a lifetime of proof. Thank you for reiterating these truths. It is GREAT to read them for the first time or the tenth.

On Aug 13, 2012 Dr. Collins wrote:
             The DietPower data provides calories as well as additional nutritional information, so it is also useful to those who choose to track other nutritional elements such as carbs or fats or sugar or fiber intake. No matter what nutritional elements I choose to track at any one time, I've often found it helpful to have the other personal nutritional information readily available to me.

On Aug 15, 2012 kimberchick wrote:
A wonderful post! I do think that a daily food journal is the only way for me to successfully lose wgt and, please goddess, maintain that loss. I also use and LOVE Dietpower and find the ability to check out the nutrients in what I'm eating, as well as it's cool feature of telling me which foods to choose to increase my nutritional IQ score lol, immeasurably helpful every day :-) I am in such awe of your success ... 8 yrs maintaing a wgt loss over 100 lbs is extremely difficult and I congratulate you on all the hard work these past 8 yrs! You are a dieting superhero <3

On Aug 15, 2012 Dr. Collins wrote:
             Thanks Kimberchick, it's good to hear from you. No true superhero here, but I just keep plugging on - every day, I input ALL of my food...whether low-calorie or high-calorie, and whether it's a lot or a little.. Some days this is REALLY HARD, because I just don't want to face what I ate. Some days this is really hard, because at times it seems like no matter what/when/or how I eat, or how hard I work to maintain weight or lose weight, my weight average keeps going up... year after year... BUT, I find the alternative unthinkable...which...for me... is to gain 100 lbs plus in less than 1 year AND then have to diet to keep from gaining even more. I'd rather diet near a normal weight, than diet inside morbid obesity. A 6 month to 1 year "eating vacation" just isn't worth what it would cost me.

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