Photo food diary

By Linda

It’s been a long, long time since I’ve posted here, for no particular reason other than shifting priorities. I feel like I should write a lengthy catchup on everything I’ve been doing with fitness, but there’s not much to the story: I mostly did a lot of walking during the summer, being fairly sick of running, then I joined a CrossFit gym in September. These days I go to CrossFit around 3-4 times a week, and get my ass kicked each and every time.

Since I started working from home in the fall, I’ve had some trouble getting my eating on track. I do okay for a while, then I completely go nuts for a few weeks in a row. Over and over. Not from hunger, mind you—it’s linked to self-reward and comfort and the sheer pleasure of gnawing through a bag of chips. Every time I get in a junk food rut, I end up feeling miserable; every time I pull out of the tailspin I find that it’s a little harder to fit into my clothes.

It’s not as easy for me to lose weight as it used to be, maybe because I’m getting older. (37 in February, yo.) A week or so of strict eating doesn’t drop extra few pounds right off any more; it’s become apparent that I need to get control over these binge cycles before I outgrow all my clothes. And I really, really don’t want to buy new clothes—for one thing, I found an awesome, superflattering, supercomfy pair of designer jeans at Goodwill recently for like five bucks. No WAY am I paying over $200 to replace those fuckers.

So here’s my Current Thing: I’ve started a blog for the express purpose of tracking what I eat. I’d already been keeping a food diary in the Lose It app, which has been really helpful, but the blog takes things a small step further—I photograph every meal and post the image.

It probably sounds beyond OCD or self-obsessed or painfully neurotic or some combination of all three, but even with no one looking, it’s already changed how I eat. I think about my meal ahead of time, I don’t mindlessly eat remnants of my kids’ snacks, I’m better about keeping my goals in mind before I sit down to eat something.

I got the idea from the 4-Hour Body, which, by the way, is an absolutely fascinating read. The author mentioned how studies have shown people are more likely to succeed at their diet if they photograph their food, even more so than with a written journal (which on its own produces better success than dieting without a journal). At first I thought, how ridiculous! And then I thought, hmmmmm.

I use Tumblr for this purpose and it’s so, so easy. I just snap a photo with my phone, open the Tumblr iPhone app, type a short description of my meal, and hit post. Kerblam, there it is on my little website.

Anyway, on the off chance you want to follow along, it’s here: Daily Foodholery. So far I’ve noticed that everything I’ve been eating 1) is unappetizing to photograph, and 2) comes in a bowl.

I plan to try and be honest about documenting the less-than-stellar days (like for instance this Saturday, which is my planned Cheat Like Hell Day). Next week might be a little spotty since we’ll be traveling and I don’t want to interrupt Christmas dinner to be all, JUST A SECOND LEMME TAKE A PICTURE. But overall, I’m going to try and do this for at least a month or so, see if I can’t get rid of these extra five-plus pounds and, more importantly, curb the ongoing bad food cycle.

10 Responses to “Photo food diary”

  1. Faith Says:

    I’ve been looking for inspiration and ideas on how to eat better – I’ve been hard-pressed, with a 4-month-old and a full-time job, to find the time to cook meals, so my husband and I end up having fast food almost 100% of the time. It’s become incredibly unappetizing, and I’m sure it’s not doing my health any favours, nevermind the health of my baby daughter. So I do think I’ll keep an eye on your food blog (as voyeuristic as it feels), if for no other reason than to give me some ideas for quick things I could throw together that don’t have pizza in them.

  2. MEP Says:

    I have struggled with the sugar cycle… I would eat great for awhile and then go for the Snickers in the vending machine at work. Indulging in one cookie or some chocolate sent me into a tailspin of “cheating” or obsessing about cheating for days on end. I played around with my diet and started to suspect it was my daily 1/2 cup of yogurt (organic, not loaded with sugar or HFCS) so I started eating a piece of fruit and a 1/4 cup of almonds for breakfast every day instead. I have never been lactose intolerant or the type to cut out entire food groups, but quitting dairy has finally allowed me to view sweets objectively. Now when there is a cake or platter of cookies at work, if I feel like eating some I do, if not I pass it up, and either way, I don’t think about it for the rest of the day — something I’ve never been able to achieve in my ENTIRE LIFE. I am not primal/paleo/whatever because I eat rice, whole grains, etc. Not sure if this would work for you or anyone else, but for me just experimenting with changing up my regular routines revealed a lot.

  3. Kate Says:

    Good luck, Linda! You will be successful. For me, tracking my food was one of the biggest factors in losing weight. Once I got into the habit of it, it became like second nature and it was really, really helpful. I love that smart phones make it so easy (I always use Lose It on my iPhone). Technology to the rescue!

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  5. Fast Weight Reduction – 3 Secrets For Rapid Weight Loss | Healthy Man Says:

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  6. Pauly Says:

    Good idea!

    Reading 4HB as well and will start logging for the next 30 days to see what the hell i’m consuming.

    Thanks for the iPhone tumblr tip!


  7. Danita Meola Says:

    Hey, i think you visited my website so i came to “return the favour”.I am trying to find things to improve my blog!Is it ok if i use some of the things i saw here?!

  8. Jeff B Says:

    Great Job – I am doing something similar using Twitter. I found you after doing a Google Search after ready the 4 hour body as well. I really noticed the difference in what I eat – would I really want to upload a picture of a 1/2 box of Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies or a bag of Bugles? Id be interest to know if you getting the results you want! Keep it up!


  9. Christina Viering Says:

    That is a great idea!

  10. paleo solution Says:


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