In a previous post, we talked about the importance of maintaining a training journal. In this post, we want to look at how a diet journal can help you achieve your fitness goals.

It seems like everyone is on some kind of diet these days. Some people want to lose weight, others want to cut down on fat and gain more muscle. Regardless of what your dieting goals are, you will need a diet journal to make your life easier.

But how does a diet journal help you exactly?

The main aim of having a diet journal isn’t just to write down the foods you’ve consumed during the day. It is to plan out your daily meals and then note down what you actually ate.

It may seem like hard work planning out the precise calories, carbs, proteins, and fats required every day, but it is necessary. Do you know what majority of people find most frustrating when dieting?

Not losing any weight, or not gaining weight as fast as they want to.

Most people assume that they are making the right dietary choices yet for some “baffling” reason, they still remain fat or can’t gain much bulk. These are the kinds of issues you will face if you do not have a diet journal.

Since dieting is a very precise activity, it sometimes becomes difficult figuring out how many carbs, protein, and fats to include in each of your 4–6 daily meals. As boring as it may sound, the easiest solution is to eat the same foods every day. The advantage of this method is that once you determine the calorie requirements of your regular meals, you won’t have to do any on-the-spot calorie counting. If you do choose to add some variety to your meals, make sure that you plan ahead for it.

How to Create a Diet Journal

The first step in creating a diet journal is to know how many calories and macronutrients you need to consume every day. You can use one of those online nutrition facts databases (like calorieking.com) to plan each meal. Using a spreadsheet, list every food item that you eat daily, meal by meal. List the calories and macros for every food and check the totals as you go. Play around with the food items until you settle on a daily meal plan that meets your nutritional and calorific requirements.

You can vary the food items for different meals and for different days, just as long as you hit your targets. Then it’s time to go shopping or get cooking. It’s always easier if you prepare meals in advance, say on weekends, and have a week’s worth of meals ready to eat. Of course, people’s schedules vary, but the important thing is to have a clear picture of what you need to eat every meal to accomplish your dietary goals.

So what’s next?

  • Get a notebook where you will record your daily dietary target for calories and macronutrients.
  • Write down the foods you plan on eating every meal, including their calories and macro information.
  • Keep track of what you actually ate per meal. If it’s the same as your meal plan, check it off. If there was a change somewhere (assuming it was unavoidable), note down what you actually ate along with its nutritional information.

And you’re done! When it comes to your diet, you have to be deliberate and plan ahead, whether you are planning on losing weight or gaining muscle.