A daily food journal can be a useful tool for anyone who is trying to lose weight. Keeping a journal is certainly less stressful than counting calories or vowing to give up 95% of the foods that bring you pleasure. These techniques rarely end well.
To get started, try writing down everything you eat for a couple of weeks, including amounts. The initial goal isn’t to change what you eat but to but to build a habit of journaling while creating a record of your current eating habits.
After a couple of weeks, you’ll have a good idea of your biggest pitfalls. Identify a couple of them and start making changes. Whether it’s pastry with the afternoon coffee break or the chocolate bar you eat when you’re stressed, pick a couple of bad habits to target. One bad habit can equal a few hundred calories a day. For example, if you’re starving at 10 am and usually eat a two or three hundred calorie snack, you have a morning hunger issue. You could try adding protein to your breakfast combined with shifting your breakfast time to an hour later. Together these two changes might eliminate the need for a mid-morning snack. Even if you just work your way down to a lighter mid-morning snack, you’ll have made a small daily difference.
Once your journal begins to reflect progress in a couple of areas, the small daily differences will start to add up. As you repeat the cycle of identifying and addressing bad eating habits, you’ll find that you’ve created a pattern of healthy eating that’s tailored to your own individual eating preferences. This is going to give you much more long-term success than impossible resolutions that collapse under the weight of unrealistic expectations.