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Why keeping a food diary works

articles Apr 04, 2024

Honest (adj): telling the truth or to be trusted

That's what a food diary helps you to be. Some people feel that it can be tedious however being true to yourself about what exactly you eat and drink actually works.

It's also a great way to share the everyday details of your eating habits with your dietitian so they can see your likes, dislikes and patterns throughout a day.

study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics showed that older, larger sized women had more success in achieving their goals 12 months later when they journaled their food intake regularly, compared to those who only skipped meals (intentionally).

By recording everything you eat, you may find out quickly the reality of what you actually consume and how often. After recording for a week, most clients report "wow, I didn't realise how many times a day I grab something sugary" or "I didn't realise how many coffees I have instead of water."

The MOST important thing to remember is you need to be 100% judgement-free of your choices and that your diary is for your eyes only (and maybe your dietitian's!)Make sure you keep your inner critic in check, as it's easy to let it say nasty things when you are trying to do your best. This can be something to note down too and discuss with your dietitian if you found this a challenge too.

As habits take time to evolve and change, consistency is key. A food diary is favourable when kept for five to six weeks to really reflect and learn from your actions, make the necessary changes and move towards seeing positive outcomes. However it's completely human nature to start with gusto and and then peter off - your dietitian can help when motivation is low and explore what might be getting in the way.


The old fashioned notebook and pen is absolutely suffice, as is the notes section on your phone.

You can also print our paper-based copy HERE or download one of our favourite apps.

  • YouFood (photo capture)
  • FoodView (photo capture)
  • Ate Food Diary (photo capture)
  • Recovery Record (eating disorder focused)
  • Easy Diet Diary (calorie counting database)

*Content included on this site is prepared as general information only. It is not advice and should not be substituted for personal advice which takes into account your individual health, financial or other circumstances.