Helpful Weight Loss Surgery Journaling Tips

Helpful Weight Loss Surgery Journaling Tips

Journaling Tips and Tricks.


When people think of “Keeping a Journal” it’s hard not to think of sitting in your room as a child or teenager keeping a record of your life.  Journaling for a specific purpose is a much different process.  How do you start?


The first small step, pick the journal you will use to keep your record in.  There is no “right way” to keep your journal, it really is up to you how and what you would like to record.  This article will provide you with ideas if you’re just starting out and don’t know where to begin.


  • Before Photos
  • Yearly Goals
  • Food and Nutrient Data
  • Eating Environment Data
  • Daily Emotions
  • Daily Struggles
  • Milestones
  • Medical Issues
  • Fitness


Pam Tidwell, a Pompeii patient is so grateful she began her journal before her surgery.  She recorded the whole process, from before and after and says it has been unbelievably important to her success. 

“I was so helpful because as I have progressed I can also reflect to see struggles, hurts, and success.  In my weight loss journal I get to track progress, daily struggles, emotions, I include before and after photos, and milestones.  I plan on doing this for years to come.”


     1. Before Photos

Patients I have talked to in the past have sworn by before and after photos, and Let’s face it, anyone on a fitness journey takes before and after photos.  Although embarrassing at times, it is the best way to see your results.  It is a visual way of recording your weight loss journey and if you are a visual person in any capacity, this is something you will want to keep in your journal.


     2. Yearly Goals

Setting annual goals help you to set realistic monthly goals.  Most fitness goals don’t just happen overnight and creating good habits can take a good amount of time.  Setting annual goals and giving yourself time to achieve them is realistic and will help you to not be too hard on yourself when things are not happening as fast as you want them to.  It can even be fun to cross off your goals one by one as you reach them and see yourself getting closer to completion.  Setting yearly goals can boost your confidence, and help you realize that you can achieve anything you put your mind to, as long as you do the work, and stay motivated.  Don’t set too many though, it will be overwhelming.


     3. Food and Meal Data

This is where you want to record your food intake and beverage intake.  If you are on a pre-op diet, or recovery, this will help you stay on track and maintain or start that healthy lifestyle you will need to see those yearly goals completed.  You can record what you eat, and when you eat.  You can record the nutrition label information.  Calorie Count can be helpful.  It can also be helpful to record how long you took to eat, to make sure you aren’t eating too quickly or often.  


     4. Eating Environment Data

This can be beneficial for those who overeat in certain environments.  If you tend to eat more in social situations where you aren’t paying close attention to portion sizes, or if you are an emotional eater and you binge at home.  It can help to record where you eat and what is happening around you to help you realize what isn’t working for you, and how you can change it.  What situations you should stay away from, or just be more aware of yourself in those situations.  This can be extremely helpful to you.


     5. Daily Emotions

“Be ready to face the emotions that will pour out.  Most of us did not just wake up overweight, so as the pre-op struggle starts, and the post-op emotions surface, we see how things must change to get healthy once again through the weight loss journey.” 

-Pam Tidwell

Any emotional journal you keep can be difficult, but even more so when it is kept to create opportunity to face issues and make changes.  This part of your journal is crucial if you want to get to the root of the problem to get that healthy lifestyle you want.  It is also helpful to give you an outlet to get your emotions out.  How do you feel about the surgery, or how do you feel about yourself post-op?  It is important to work those emotions out and get to a healthy place mentally.  


     6. Daily Struggles

Recording things you struggle with on a day-to-day basis can help you spot trends which will help you change bad habits, or find situations that continue to pop up that maybe you would want to reevaluate.  It can help you learn how to overcome struggles by noting them daily, and can even give you motivation to read past struggles and remember how you got through that day.  


      7. Milestones

Charting your milestones will help immensely with confidence and with the record of your journey.  You can go back to this section when you need motivation as well if you are having a hard day.  You can pick for yourself how and what you want to chart in this section.  Some things people chart would be fitness milestones, weight milestones, you can also chart measurements here if you would like.  The sky is the limit.


     8. Medical Issues

This is an important section.  Let’s say you overeat post-op, or you eat the wrong thing during recovery and it causes a medical issue or a reaction.  This is a great place to chart things to stay away from.  Things that have caused you heartburn, or have set your recovery process back.  You can keep track of things you need to avoid, and it is a hassle free way of keeping yourself on the right path for recovery.


     10. Fitness

Again, you can do this section however works best for you.  Some print out a calendar and chart their fitness for the month, others do it weekly or biweekly.  Whatever will keep you motivated and on track.  This is also a great place to track your water intake and make sure you are drinking enough water and staying hydrated.


A journal can be a fun, helpful way of charting your Weight Loss Journey, pre, and post-op.  Reach out to your Facebook Support Group and see if anyone is doing one and how they have seen success.

Happy Journaling!