8 Tips to Lose Weight with Food Logging

If weight loss is one of your health goals, it may be wise to take a closer look at what you’re eating by using the food logging feature in the Fitbit app. Experts agree, the simple act of recording meals and snacks can not only help you lose more weight, but keep it off for longer, too. Yes, all that logging can feel tedious at times, but it works! By spending a few days spotting where those extra calories are sneaking in, you’ll gain invaluable insights.

Here are a few tips to make food logging a little easier, and get the most out of your data.

Tip #1 Commit to 7 Days. To get an accurate assessment of your eating habits, you need at least a few days a week—including one weekend day—but an entire week is even better. You’ll get a sense of how many calories you’re typically eating, and can then work out how many calories you should be eating to help you reach your goal weight. If you want to establish new habits, keep logging. And if you want to lose 5 pounds (or more!), stick with it for at least a month.

Tip #2 Learn the shortcuts. The fastest way to log is to simply use the plus button at the bottom of your dashboard and select “log food” or “scan barcode.” (iOS users on newer devices with force touch can do a hard press on the Fitbit app icon and then click on log food.) By tapping the barcode symbol you can then use the camera on your smartphone to capture the barcode, and voilà! That exact item should pop up. All you need to do is select your serving size. (Note: This doesn’t mean you need to survive on packaged foods! Lots of fresh produce comes with barcodes, too!) You can also make use of “most popular” and “common” foods when searching for a food item, it’ll save you time trawling through a long list of brands.

Tip #3 Input your favorite foods once. The first few days are the most tiresome, but rest assured, it gets easier the more you do it. When you go to log a food, view the “frequent” and “recent” food lists, where the foods you eat regularly will automatically appear at the top for quick and easy logging. “Custom” foods require a bit more work to input, but once you have, they are great for the foods you eat often, but can’t easily find in the database.

Tip #4 Log as you eat. It’s easy to forget the details of a meal when relying on memory. If you absolutely don’t have time to log it immediately, take a photo. You could also use silent alarms and set personal reminders to nudge you to log your food at regular meal times, until logging becomes a habit.

Tip #5 But also, plan ahead! Use food logging to meal plan. If you know what you’re going to eat for breakfast all week, log it beforehand. It’ll make the process faster, and you’ll be more likely to stick to your healthy eating plan if it’s already recorded.

Tip #6 Pay attention to portion sizes. If you’re totally new to calorie counting, pull out your measuring cups and spoons, and invest in a kitchen scale. You only need to measure a few times before you’ll get the gist of how much you should be eating. Plus, check out Fitbit’s visual guide to portion sizes! When you have a rough idea of what 3 ounces of steak looks like (a deck of cards), or a cup of pasta (a tennis ball), entering your servings will be quicker, easier, and more accurate.

Tip #7 Be honest. Log every morsel you eat and drink—yes, even the milk in your coffee, the cheese on your taco, and your son’s half eaten cupcake. The more detail you provide, the more accurate the data will be. There is no judgement, guilt, or shame—only the satisfaction of knowing you’re that much closer to achieving your weight goal!

Tip #8 Look for patterns. Take note of other triggers and behaviors linked to your eating. Do you eat something every time you walk into the kitchen? Is 3 p.m. your candy-witching hour? Does a deadline cause you to reach for donuts? By spotting patterns around when, where, and why you eat certain foods, you can develop strategies to prevent them from recurring, and start working towards a healthier you.

Embrace the process and approach food logging with a positive attitude—if you enjoy the journey of self discovery, you’ll be more likely to stick to it.

58 Comments   Join the Conversation

58 CommentsLeave a comment

  • I find it difficult to log foods that don’t come with a barcode. How much for a banana? How do I tell if it is “big” or “medium”? What about a home cooked meal or snack? Is there any easy way to count the calories there? Or a meal in a non-chain restaurant? I’d appreciate an article on this. 🙂

    • I agree with you Katie. I cook all my meals from scratch and have the problems you describe. Nor do I have a Smart Phone so no bar codes for me!

    • I agree with you. Figuring out how to log homemade meals. How to know the numbers of what each food is unknown to me. I want to do it but don’t know where to find the info. Can you shed some light on this for us?

  • It would be helpful if the app had fields for time eaten/drank and quick notes (ie: stressful day etc)….especially when a plateau has been reached…This would provide greater insight to behavior…

    • There is an app that allows you to do that, its called YouAte! I’ve been using it for several months now to track how I am eating with a simple picture, and you can add your own notes to it. Its nice because theres no calorie counting involved rather you make a mindful decision based on your own health and fitness goals of whether the meal is on or off path. Super easy and makes you aware of your decisions.

  • For those of you that cook your own meals, as you cook you just need to measure each item used, add up nutrients/calories for each ingredient and then log the dish cooked on your dashboard. It takes time, but only have to do it once per dish made. A lot of cookbooks also provide the nutrient information. A food scale (very inexpensive to purchase) is a must have!

  • Can someone please tell me how I can add the calories for each food? I am able to input food type but cannot input calories to know how many I’m burning off throughout the day! Thank you!

  • Not crazy about the percentages, as my diet is based on 1200 cals, 60 carbs, and 20g sat fat. This is hard to keep track of…

  • Hi, i am 240 pounds 5ft 1 inch. Can you tell me how much calories I should be consuming a day? I am not sure how calorie counting works but I have heard people talk about before. I am trying so hard to loose the weight.

  • Please add a database of fruits, vegetables, healthy fats snd proteins. These foods are not readily available with bar scans. I logged FOOD in Jan. 2017, quit due to no database to pull natural fresh foods. Found the same issue. Fat Secret has a great Food DB…please check
    it out and improve food loggong for fitbit
    Thank you!

  • I can’t figure out how to log in foods. I think it doesn’t matter, though. A page says that I have used all but 28 calories for the day and I not only haven’t logged in anything, but also haven’t eaten anything yet this morning, so I think that part of the app doesn’t work.

  • Does the app allow you to add more than 1 page of food? It seems I am constantly re-adding the same foods because there seems to be limited space. Unless I am doing something wrong.

  • Hi

    Is there an app you recommend for counting calories

    Also sometimes it’s hard to measure the calories for each meal if most times especially lunch and breakfast is had outside of Home

    Please advic

  • I was given a 1200 calorie intake I really have a hard time eating that much I’m usually like 900 maybe a thousand could this be why I’m not losing the weight that I want I’m losing a pound a week or maybe an eighth of a pound a week I do go to the gym but I’m only an hour a day I work 7 days a week and that’s all that I can fit in

    • Having a problem too Was weighing 224 last September Down to 208in Jan,Since using Fit bit I’ve lost lbs5,question is how do i kmow how much calories i should be eating?I never reach the amt stated on my Fitbit

  • Hi
    I have just got my fit bit for Christmas, so happy!
    I intend to lose 2 stone that has crept on me over the last 4years. My sister has been tracking her food for the last year and has lost 2 stone, so the challenge is now on for me. I will let you all know how I am doing, wish me luck Annie x

  • Is there a way to get the custom list in alphabetical order? That would be a great help as I try to find things that I already took the time to list.

  • I find logging food the hardest .
    I pretty much just do it by memory
    I’ve kept a 120 pounds off me for 40
    Years !!! I like the logging foodplan fit bit offers Joanna cox

  • Hello! How do I log the name of the food I ate, the calories, macros, etc. I have the fitbit ionic and Samsung Galaxy Note 8.

  • hi yes I new to this fit bit so lam learning how to use it but I really don’t know how to do the food thing but Holley I’ll get it

  • Can anyone suggest a breakfast for a pre diabetic but also needs to bring cholesterol down naturally? Advice would help please

  • I missed logging my meals yesterday.
    How can I go back and log my food for yesterday?
    I have Fitbit Alta HR

  • My Fitbit doesn’t seem to be working correctly, it only logs a few of the items I input. I’ve had no problems until this past week so it use to be ok but now is finicky on what it shows as I add the food. Help please.

  • I am glad you said to be honest when you log your food. I am looking into using a wellness app for losing weight. Thanks for the tips on losing weight with food logging.

  • Hi I eat quite healthily and have an active lifestyle. I also recently became a yoga instructor. I struggle with my midsection, so am going to log what I eat and drink. Drink being the optimum word ( 7 coffees a day !!)

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