The Most Important Detail For Your Food Journal

FLogg Journal

Food diaries may seem tedious—especially after doing one for 5 months as the Avaglianos have—but they are key to keeping you accountable for what you are eating. According to a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics researchers found that people who kept a food diary were more likely to lose weight than those who do not. They work for three simple reasons:

  1. If you have to write down eating a “bad” food, then you’re less likely to eat it.
  2. If you’re not losing weight, you can see why. You may even notice that maybe you aren’t recording all of those in between little snacks you’ve been having.
  3. If you are losing weight, then you’re doing something right and you can refer to your journal to see behaviors you need to increase.

You don’t need a special format for your journal just a small notebook that you can easily take with you or if you prefer, an online program or even a spreadsheet on your computer, that also works as well.

One key detail I recommend people write down when they note foods consumed: their mood. Sometimes it helps address other reasons you’re eating besides hunger. It’s also important to write down all of the beverages consumed because many unnecessary calories come from drinks and not food.

At the end of each week, review what you’ve written down; it will help you to figure out what you’re doing wrong or what you’re doing right!

Registered dietician Elizabeth Fassberg runs Eat Food, a New York City-based company that designs and delivers custom food and nutrition programs for businesses, organizations and individuals. She’s coaching the Avagliano family through the six-month Healthy Family Challenge.

Challenge Yourself: Get Healthy Today


This week, Peggy invited you to get healthy, too. She never expected to be chosen for the Healthy Family Challenge, but now that she is, she and her family have changed their eating habits, started exercising and lost weight.

You can do the same at home. Throughout the challenge, we’ve given you many ways to challenge yourself and eat better, drink more water, exercise and get more sleep. You can also use the tips from Elizabeth and Stephanie, our fabulous nutritionists.

If you haven’t been, check out the links and make a few small changes. You’ll see results soon–and be on your way to a happier, healthier life.

What motivated you to get healthy? Share in the comments below.

8 Food Journal Red Flags

FLogg Journal

With free, easy-to-navigate food journals all over the web, many people use them all the time now. But doing this is only helpful if you actually review what you put in the journal! I reminded Tiffany of this just the other day. She’s diligent about keeping her online food journal up to date, but she doesn’t always go back and look at it.

My advice to her was to review her journal weekly. Here are some things that Tiffany—and everyone—should look for when reviewing their food journal.

1. Check for any patterns in your diet. Do you tend to snack more at work than at home? Do you snack on certain foods right before bed, like ice cream or potato chips? These can indicate that you’re eating out of habit or boredom rather than hunger.

2. Does your diet change when things get stressful? Review your journal from a stressful week and then compare it with one from a less stressful week and note any changes.

3. Are you eating mostly whole grain foods, such as whole wheat breads, cereals and pastas? Or are you eating more refined grains, such as white bread, white rice or pasta, and sugary cereals or snack bars?

4. How often do you eat out each week? What types of places do you eat at most often? What types of foods do you order? How can you cut back on dining out?

5. How much water do you drink? What other liquids are you drinking?

6. Do you tend to eat more prepackaged, processed foods than whole, unprocessed foods? Time to make a switch.

7. Count up the number of fruits/vegetables you had each day. Many people think they eat far more fruits and vegetables than they actually do.

8. Do you see anything missing in your food journal? Small bites eaten throughout the day can add up to weight gain over time so be sure you’re writing down everything—from those two Hershey’s Kisses you had to those lollipops—you eat.

When you’re done reviewing your journal, make a list of goals for improving your diet. Setting goals and regularly looking at your food intake will make recording what you eat each day worth the time and effort.

Through her Des Moines-based nutrition company, SK Health Communications, registered dietitian Stephanie Karpinske writes and develops recipes for magazines, books, supermarkets and food companies. She is the author of Read Before Dieting: Your 4-Step Plan for Diet Success and writes a blog about healthy eating, She’s coaching the Lehman family through the six-month Healthy Family Challenge.

4 Ways To Avoid Weight Gain On Vacation


photo via

Italy is known for its fabulous food and wine and the Avaglianos spent ten days enjoying the food and culture. I was not about to tell them to skip the specialties of the country but I also didn’t want them to put on all the weight they had lost over the last few months.

Vacations can cause you to tip the scale if you are not careful. To avoid the damage, you’ll need to be mindful of how much food you are putting in your mouth.

1. Sample the different flavors but don’t have to finish the meals. If it’s a really great sandwich or pasta dish simply share it with someone and have a salad on the side or a side of vegetables without any sauce. Italy is also known for its delicious gelato—you can usually get a very small scoop and it won’t set you back with too many calories.

2. Don’t make every meal a heavy one. If you know you want to try a special restaurant for lunch and drink some of the local wine, then make dinner a lighter meal, maybe grabbing fresh produce from the market and making a big salad in your hotel room. Or going to a small restaurant where they don’t mind if you share plates and order less food.

3. If you can, plan ahead and do lots of walking to burn off some of the extra calories.

Buon appetito!

Registered dietician Elizabeth Fassberg runs Eat Food, a New York City-based company that designs and delivers custom food and nutrition programs for businesses, organizations and individuals. She’s coaching the Avagliano family through the six-month Healthy Family Challenge.

(Photo Copyright by Moyan Brenn)

Challenge Yourself: Order Healthier Fast Food

KFC Smart Swap

This week, our Healthy Family Challenge nutritionists. Elizabeth and Stephanie, have shared a lot of advice for making healthier food choices on the go. This is so important when it comes to losing weight. You’re never going to eat every meal at home, so you need to choose better options when you’re grabbing a quick bite.

Often, we end up at fast food places. And while those menus include lots of calorie-laden choices, there are also better-for-you options. See what they are:

Smart Swaps: Healthy Fast-Food Choices

20 Healthy Fast-Food Meals

What’s your favorite healthy fast food meal? Share in the comments below.