That Food Diary

My weight loss progress has, quite frankly, sucked so far, and though I do plan on sharing everything I’ve been doing, today I’m just going to point you toward my latest weight loss scheme. That Husband has been urging me to start calorie counting again, but I’m too obsessive to only do it halfway, and I’m not willing to give up part of my blogging time in order to do it.

Enter That Food Diary. I wanted to come up with a system that would force me to eat more mindfully without my old system of meticulous calorie counting, and this new blog of mine is an attempt to do so. The premise is simple, I’ve committed to take a picture of everything I put in my mouth. Big meals, eating out, dining with friends, snacking… it doesn’t matter where I am or what the situation is I need to take a picture of it before it goes in my mouth, preferably of the exact portion that I consume. The groomsmen at the wedding I shot on Friday thought I was completely crazy when I whipped out my phone and took a picture of the cake before I ate it.

I’ve turned comments off because this isn’t meant to be a chance for people to analyze and comment on my nutrition choices. If you have suggestions for changes that you think I would benefit from, I encourage you to email me. I figured those who are just being critical aren’t very likely to take the time to write an email AND if I don’t like what you say I’ll just delete it. 🙂

So far the system has been working really well. Yesterday when I wanted to eat my feelings? I chose to abstain because I didn’t want to take a picture of it. Hopefully over time you’ll see my diet change a bit as well, as I focus on finding ways to cook with less meat and eat more local and in-season foods.

Who knows if anyone will actually read, but I know That Husband is, and just the thought of having anyone check in to see what I’m eating should be enough to keep me consuming mindfully.

Jessica suggested I add a “like” feature to my posts which I’ve added at the bottom of each post. I’ve also had several requests for recipes. When a post gets a lot of likes I’ll go back and add in a recipe link or details on what’s included in the dish. I’ll also post recipes when I get emails or comments on That Wife asking for them (when I have them). I’m excited that so many people are interested in this! It’s really motivated to think that more than TH and myself will be glancing at it. 🙂 The recipe for the Coconut Avocado Ice Cream has been added here if you’d like to bookmark it.

56 thoughts on “That Food Diary

  1. This is a great idea! I bet if I took a picture of everything I put in my mouth I would definitely think twice. What a great way to hold yourself accountable for what you eat.

  2. i like this idea, too. i might actually “copy” it from you and try it myself.

    you eat a lot of sweets. no judgment here, just noticing from skimming through your entries. unfortunately, so do i. *sigh* yet you don’t seem to consume very big quantities of food otherwise. hmmm.

    i wonder if someone who is good with nutrition/dieting will be able to read through your entries and figure out what’s going “wrong” with your weight loss plan? might be helpful.

    kylydia Reply:

    I did sort of copy the idea! I already had a journal challenge on my 101 in 1001 list, so I’ve incorporated this as part of that challenge. If anyone is interested, I’m posting my photos to Flickr and have created a Flickr group.

  3. Yeah yeah it’s a good idea and all but mostly I’m just commenting to say how GOOD that salad looks. Wow seriously. Delish. Now I’m hungry…

  4. Interesting concept! I look forward to following along with your progress towards your weight loss goal. I also had the same question/thought as Kalen. Since I’m not a RD, I can’t say for sure what would help/hurt your weight loss plan in terms of making good food choices, but I bet having a photo of everything you eat would be a huge asset to a RD if you chose to work with one to customize a meal plan that works for you. Have you ever worked with one in the past? I know you’ve been really open about discussing your weight loss struggles and successes, but I wasn’t sure if you’d ever talked to a trained professional about what “works” for you.

  5. I love this idea. I might actually do this as well. I know that a lot of my problem is that I am an emotional eater. So I am trying to de-stress my life some and focusing on not overeating when I am stressed. It is hard, sometimes the sheer guilt of what I just ate stresses me out more!!!
    I love that you are constantly working on being healthier. I am sure you get discouraged but you don’t seem to let that stop you. So many times I just give up because I don’t see results have feeling like I have worked so hard.

  6. I think this is a great idea! I love that you have turned off the comments. This is your tool to help you stay on focus…not someone else’s to criticize. I really hope that you only receive emails asking for recipes. 🙂 And I love that TH is going to be reading/viewing. It will help to keep you accountable. At least it would me.

  7. I just checked it out. By the way, that salad looks aMAZing!!!! I’m on day 3 of my diet, and I’ve noticed, if I keep myself busy, it’s easier. 🙂 Good luck!! I’m rooting for you!!

  8. I hope it’s ok that I comment about it here.

    Jenna, you need to eat your veggies! I say that with love, but seriously, you are eating too many empty calories without balancing them with veggies. Try to replace one of those carb heavy meals (even if it’s good carbs) with a few more veggies and I am sure you will see a difference. Also try to make sure you have a source of protein, good fat, and fiber in every meal.

    Good luck dear! You will reach your goals 🙂

  9. oh wow love the idea. would be kind of scary, but powerful for that reason! my husband would kill me if he knew some of the junk I ate (he’s not on me to lose weight, but to eat less processed stuff). I have read about people taking pictures of their food for blogs, but not for the purpose of healthy eating accountability. keep us posted on how it’s working as time goes on!

  10. Dr. Pepper milkshake?! Where can I get one of those?! 🙂

    Jenna Reply:

    We went to the Dr. Pepper Festival in Dublin Texas last weekend. I’m posting about it on Friday. 🙂

  11. Awesome idea! Have you read Women, Food, and God by Geneen Roth? While I don’t love the entire book, her idea about mindful eating and not dieting is great. I lost 6 lbs the first 3 weeks I tried it and still ate things I loved (and minimal exercise).

  12. I am a total nerd for picture food diaries.I like Kath Eats Real Food, and SELF has a blog by an RD where she takes pics of everything that goes in her mouth as well. As to diet in general, the conclusion I’ve come to is that regardless of the type of diet- from vegan to south beach to atkins to paleo to the zone, whatever-the common key to a healthy diet is to limit sugar and avoid processed foods/refined carbs.

    It would be cool if there were a way for us to participate with you by linking our food diaries as well. Kind of like a group motivation, as well as perhaps an inspiration for new meals/recipes. I dunno about the logistics of it, but it might be an interesting community to start up…

    Jenna Reply:

    I love that idea Sophia! I’d be open to linking to other food/tracking blogs in the sidebar on the site as long as they are exclusive in their content theme. I just like the idea of building up a community that’s dedicated to the same thing, and easier for those who are following along to do so.

    Sophia Reply:

    I think it would be rad 🙂 I’ve been meaning to start a blog of what I eat, because a) people always ask “but…. what do you EAT?” upon hearing I’m vegan and b) I cook a lot, and make a lot of different food, and I already have a “cooking” album on face book so this would go right along. This might be the motivation I need..

    Going off to see if “” is available, lol.

    Sophia Reply:

    Drat, not available, so I settled for this-

    I already inhaled breakfast, so let’s see if I can remember to take a pic of lunch 🙂

    You should check out Kath’s site, if you haven’t already. I think you’d like her and she’s been doing this for like 5 years? She has FANTASTIC recipes and tips.

    Sophia Reply:

    I just posted about her as well, isn’t she great?? She’s also focusing on eating less meat lately, which I really like.

    Ariel Reply:

    She’s awesome!

  14. This is a great idea! I think I might do this. I need an extra “put-it-out-in-the-open-with-the-chance-of-someone-seeing-it” motivation. Maybe, I’ll even add a screen shot from my calorie counting site to show how many calories I’ve had. It’s a bit ambitious, so I don’t know if I’d do that everyday, but more motivation none the less. You’re amazing! Thanks for sharing this idea.

    Jenny Reply:

    By the way, I figured I’d go ahead and follow your food journal and then maybe those of us who are wanting to encourage others can follow each others can. That way, even if there are no comments, there is still the knowledge that people will see. Does that make sense?

    Sophia Reply:

    I don’t know if you already saw it, but check up above a bit in the comments, there is a convo between Jenna and I about linking food diary blogs to her sidebar so we can follow one another 🙂

    Jenny Reply:

    Oh. Sweet! I like this already. 🙂

    Jenny Reply:

    Started my food journal blog.

  15. It would be cool if you could add a “like” feature, even if you don’t want comments – cause seriously, some of that food looks delicious!

    Jenna Reply:

    I like your idea! I added a little heart button at the bottom of the posts. Just click it and you can say you like it! I didn’t add a dislike button though 🙂

    Jessica @ One Shiny Star Reply:

    Thanks! Maybe if things get lots of “hearts” you can share the recipe or something like that. 😉

    I don’t have the stamina to constantly be pulling my camera out. Lol, I would be a lot more likely to decide I’m not hungry if my choices are find the camera or not eat. Hope this works out for you!

  16. Despite the cheese factor and endorsement from Oprah (though I’m fairly certain she doesn’t do this diet), Dr. Mike Roison and Dr. Mehmet Oz’s book “You: On a Diet” is an excellent read. It goes into the biology of your body, the blood sugar roller coaster, how and why and where fat gets stored, and lots of other things. A large portion of the book is reserved for sample menus, what to eat, how to exercise, and very in-depth workout information.

    You should check it out of your public library so you don’t have to commit if you don’t want to or don’t feel like it is right for you. Just an FYI, it isn’t some low carb, fat free, hungry all the time diet. You eat real food (and is in line with your love of “whole foods”) and all the time. The full fat dairy would have to go though since it is high in saturated fat. Other than that, it doesn’t appear to be too much of a wild change from what you’re already eating.

    That being said, this book changed my life. I was fearful of eating very healthily due to budget constraints, but I actually have ended up spending the same amount of money on produce and fresh foods that I was clipping coupons and buying sweetened and modified garbage. Good luck.

  17. This is such a great idea. I’m such an emotional eater myself. If I take a minute to decide what I really need, I usually end up just having water or nothing at all. I love your posts about your healthy goals. They are my favorite.

  18. This is a great idea Jenna! There is a blog I love to read that is very similar. It is called Eat Like Me and it is written by a registered dietician. She takes pictures of everything she eats and writes about nutrition and the balancing act of eating well and being a mother/wife. I also know how much you loved tracking your calories on the computer and I wanted to suggest you find an iPhone app that you like because it is so much easier than having to get on the computer every time you eat something. I use Absolute Fitness and I.Love.It. It tracks everything for you. Calories, fat, s.fat, protein, sugar etc. You can also log exercise if you want. It’s actually kinda fun! Good luck and remember you are beautiful no matter what and the most important thing is you are healthy.

    Jenna Reply:

    Thanks Katie! I haven’t been able to find an iPhone app that I like, none of them are as powerful as I would like them to be I think. I’ve used Fitday PC for a long time and I love the way the program works and I just want them to create an iPhone app but apparently that isn’t happening. 🙂

  19. I think this is a great idea. I’ve thought of doing this before, but editing and posting the pictures takes more time than I’m willing to put in. Hmph.

    Does your husband help remind you about portions when you eat together, also? Mine does, and even though it sometimes annoys me (when something is particularly TASTY!) it does help a lot. Accountability, yay!

  20. Such a great idea! I do the same thing, but with a journal – and it’s helped me so far. No cheating, that’s the main thing – and if it keeps you accountable, fantastic!

    How do you track your calories burned – and how do you keep a record of them throughout the day?

    Jenna Reply:

    I wear my BodyBugg:

    Aly Reply:

    Ooh, many thanks! I’d love to know how many calories I’m actually burning each day.

  21. kudos! this is a great idea, better than a food diary because you can actually see what you have consumed. i’ll be following.

  22. I think having comments turned off is such a good idea. I follow a few healthy living/ eating blogs and commenters are brutal to them too. People need to get lives…

  23. Good idea Jenna! I cannot count calories myself because it makes me obsessive in a very bad way and I actually gain weight. I found that by seeing the food on my blog, I end up focusing on more colorful foods than I used to. This means more fruits and veggies which is always a good thing.

    I hope you enjoy the freedom that comes with photos and not counting numbers!

  24. I really love this idea. I’m tempted to do it myself, but I’d need to figure out how to blog pictures with my phone that has no data plan first or I’d never do it. Also, it would involve many pictures of Red Mango frozen yogurt.

  25. I think this is fascinating (I love seeing what other people eat) and it always helps me come up with meal ideas I wouldn’t have considered. Seems like a good way to be more conscious of what you eat! I have to go gluten, soy and dairy-free because of a medical condition I was just diagnosed with, and I’m thinking of trying something similar myself!

    Valerie Reply:

    I did it!

  26. I’d be more inclined to do this if I could take pictures with my Blackberry and then upload them to a blog. Does anyone know if this is possible?!

    Jenna Reply:

    Probably not as easily, although I do know that blogger has an “email to post” function that I think could work.

  27. That’s a clever way of doing it – it forces you to think about if you want to eat it or not when the picture is the step before eating.

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