5 Tips to Keep A Weight Loss Journal

by Ahmed Zayed, MD on June 12, 2019
Last updated on May 23, 2021

In 1980, an estimated 19% of the American adult population were obese. A recent report (1) that was published estimated that just about 30% of adults in the country now have a BMI of 25 or less, which means the majority of the population are either overweight or obese. With the alarming prevalence of obesity, appropriate mechanisms need to be placed into action to help reduce the risks that these individuals are exposed to.

a person writing in journal

There are multiple strategies that the population can rely on to assist in reducing body weight and improving general health. One strategy that has been suggested in multiple publications, as well as in research studies, is for a person to keep a weight loss journal to help keep them motivated.

In this guide, we are going to take a look at what a weight loss journal is, what you should do with a weight loss journal, and the benefits that this type of journal could offer you. We will also consider a few tips that you can use to help you keep on writing in your weight loss journal. These tips will help you stay motivated and continue to use your weight loss journal as a way to help you reach your goals.

What Is A Weight Loss Journal?

A weight loss journal is essentially a journal that you would set up and continue updating as you progress through your journey to reaching a specific weight loss goal. This has become quite a popular strategy for better success today, with thousands of people utilizing this technique to ensure they can effectively monitor their progress and have a complete go-to breakdown of their weight loss plan at hand, any time and no matter where they might find themselves.

There are different types of strategies that you can utilize when it comes to using a weight loss journal. While some people who only plot down a few details, others will be more engaged with their journal and keep it on hand all the time – they would plot down many details every day, ranging from what they have consumed all the way to the amount of exercise that they have obtained.

Bullet journaling has also become quite popular, which is a type of weight loss journaling technique that some people are opting for. This type of strategy is very similar to the standard method of keeping a weight loss journal, but usually include setting up a complete to-do list, along with comprehensive inclusion of notes and goals, along with a calendar and other important data that would ultimately form part of your weight loss program.

Thus, a bullet journal is essentially a complete collection of your entire plan – instead of just entries related to what you eat, how much you exercise, and how much you weigh. Many people have found great success with a bullet journal, and some have even come to prefer this option over the alternatives.

What Should You Write In A Weight Loss Journal?

The actual content that should be included in a weight loss journal really depends on the type of journaling strategy that you ultimately end up following. Some types of journaling strategies tend to require a more significant amount of data, while others rather just require you to add some data every other day, such as when you have a weigh-in session.

To make a weight loss journal as useful as possible and an effective way for you to keep track of your progress, it is generally advised that you do daily check-ins with your journal. There is a lot of data that you can add to your journal to help make tracking your progress and keeping yourself motivated throughout your entire weight loss journey easier.

It would be a good idea to start off the weight loss journal with a page that focuses on the goals and a brief overview of your ideal meal plan. Data that could be included on this page:

  • The number of meals you will eat per day
  • The maximum calories allowed per meal
  • Maximum calories you should consume per day
  • Your macronutrient breakdown (percentage of carbs, protein, and fat)
  • Macronutrient breakdown per meal would also be beneficial
  • The amount of water you should drink per day

Once this page has been compiled, the next step would be to include a daily list of food that you eat. By recording the specific foods you eat during the day, you’ll be able to identify the specific food items that are causing you further weight gain – those “binge eating culprits.” You’ll be able to modify your diet plan and your lifestyle to exclude those food items more effectively.

You can also track your exercises in your weight loss journey. Add a section each day that describe the particular exercises you completed.  In addition to these, you can also track your water intake in your weight loss journey. Remember that scientific studies have confirmed improvements in hydration can contribute to better results in terms of weight loss (2).

The Benefits Of Using A Weight Loss Journal

A weight loss journal can be very beneficial for your weight loss journey. To give you an idea of how self-monitoring may be useful, let’s focus our attention on a scientific study that was conducted by the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing and the Graduate School of Public Health (3). The study focuses on determining whether self-monitoring is an effective method for keeping people motivated and helping them achieve their weight loss goals.

The study was a review of multiple clinical trials that were previously conducted. There was a total of 22 studies that were reviewed as part of this scientific paper in order to provide a more accurate view on the use of a diary to assist with motivation and weight loss.

The scientists who led the review found that the use of a diary is definitely beneficial. Those individuals who utilized strategies like keeping a weight loss diary with them were able to experience a more significant reduction in their body weight and were also able to remain on a diet program that focused on weight loss for a longer period of time.

Some of the most important benefits that are offered by the use of a weight loss journal may include:

  • You are able to see what you eat on a day-to-day basis. This allows you to find your weaknesses easily and then create appropriate strategies to help you replace those “bad” foods with healthier alternatives.
  • You can track your progress by adding your weight during each weigh-in session. This will help you realize if what you are doing is working for you and if any changes need to be made to your weight loss program to improve your results.
  • When you are exposed to all of these results, you will be able to find motivation in times where you feel like you are getting nowhere with your efforts to reduce your body weight. You can easily check in to see how you are doing at any time and see the progress that you have already made.
  • When adding a summary page with details about your weight loss program, you also have a go-to source for quickly knowing what you can eat, when you can eat, foods to avoid, and any other details that are important for ensuring your efforts turn out successful.
  • Maintaining a weight loss journal is not time-consuming, even though some people may think that it is. In fact, when you do things the right way from the start, a weight loss journal can actually help to simplify things greatly, which can eventually help you save a significant amount of time.

Tips To Help You Keep Using Your Weight Loss Journal

Now that we have considered what a weight loss journal is and looked at why you might want to have something like this by your side if you would like to lose excess weight, we would now like to share a few tips that can help you continue using your weight loss journal throughout your entire journey.

1. Put Your Creativity To Use

The first tip we wish to offer you is to be creative. When you start to compile your weight loss plan in your journal, don’t be afraid to draw pictures and diagrams. Use different colored pens if you must. Some people go as far as to make their weight loss journal look like a scrapbook. This is your private guide and diary that will be by your side while you are on a journey to losing the excess weight you have gained.

2. Try Bullet Journaling

Bullet journaling, as we have noted previously, is becoming increasingly popular. It works in a similar way as having a regular weight loss journal, but usually, include additional items like calendars and to-do lists. You could go as far as to add foods that you can eat and foods that you can avoid, markers to tick off when you drink water and when you exercise, for example. It would be a good idea to have a single page in the front of your journal with a complete summary of your diet plan.

3. Write Down As Many Details As You Can

Don’t be afraid to record as many details as possible with your weight loss journey. Every time you have a meal, be sure to record what you had – if you can include the macronutrient intake, it would be even better. All of this will ultimately be useful when you decide to monitor your progress and check in later on, as well as when you want to make adjustments to improve your program.

4. Note Down Your Guilts

Many people find that no matter how hard they try to stick to their diet plan, they sometimes end up indulging in a treat. This is okay now-and-then, as long as you do not make a habit out of it. You should use this to your advantage – especially during the early stages of your program. Note down any “cheat” food that you eat. Later on, determine healthier alternatives you can opt for instead.

5. Check Your Journal Frequently

Your journey shouldn’t just be a book where you write in – you should also read it. You need to monitor your progress frequently. This allows you to check in with yourself – you’ll be able to notice any problem areas in your diet. When you find your diet is not offering you the results you desire, then you will be able to make the right adjustments to your diets easier compared to not having any type of reference in terms of the strategies you are currently utilizing.


There are multiple strategies that can help to make the journey to lower body weight and healthier life in general easier. A weight loss journal is one such strategy that has been proven to be beneficial, providing a way for a person to monitor their progress and understand where they are making mistakes, ensuring appropriate changes can be made to improve their results.


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