Create a visual fitness and food journal: Instagram for motivation and accountability

Love it or hate it, keeping a fitness and food journal is one of the keys to successful weight loss and weight loss maintenance.

Knowing that you have to write down everything you eat is strong motivation not to eat that package of Oreos. And being able to look back at your workouts to see how far you’ve come may be just the push you need to keep going.

Despite knowing the value of keeping a fitness and food journal, I never manage to stick with it for more than a few weeks. Why? Low fun factor, I reckon. (But also, I’ve never found a journal format that really works for me. Do you have a favourite? Share, please!)

Why not make it more fun?

Recently, I’ve discovered Instagram. Love, love, love this app!

Snap a pic with your smart phone, choose a visual effect, select a frame, write a description of your photo and upload. Almost immediately, you’ve shared your meal or workout with the world (or at least the people who follow you on social media…I’m fitknitchick_1 and I ALWAYS follow back!).

Add a hashtag or two (for example, #paleo or #cleaneating) and your photo will be included when other Instagrammer’s search for those terms.

journal your fitness and food with Instagram

Your friends and followers can ‘like’ your photo (I regularly check to see which of my Instagrams has the most likes!) and comment on it as well (comments make me swoon!).

Instagram makes it easy to share with your other social media peeps as well. Just click on the platforms you’d like the photo to be sent to (Twitter, Facebook, Tumbler, Flicker and Foursquare, for now). And voila!

Once you’ve mastered Instagram, you’ll want to move up to InstaFrame so that you can include more than one image in each photo. I’m totally addicted to creating InstaFrame collages! The most recent version has at least 30 different possible configurations, depending on how many photos you’d like to include.

journal your fitness and food with Instagram

And best of all? You’re not limited to 140 characters! Try sending someone a recipe on Twitter; bet you can’t do it (even with very creative spelling and shortening of words!).

journal your fitness and food with Instagram

Why not use it to keep track of your workouts and daily eats?

journal your fitness and food with Instagram

journal your fitness and food with Instagram

Use Instagram to create a visual fitness and food journal. You’ll feel accountable to your followers and may even find motivation through their Instagram posts!

Plus, you never know when you’ll stumble across a new #cleaneating #paleo #vegan #glutenfree recipe!

Do you use Instagram or Instaframe?

What are your favourite things to take pictures of?

Are you currently using a fitness and food journal? What type?



  1. Great post! I LOVE Instagram!!!
    Mindy @ Road Runner Girl recently posted…The Weekly Chase and Energy Bits Winner!My Profile

  2. Agreed! Instagram is awesome! Not only to keep you accountable, but I find it is super helpful for blogging! I used to often forget my camera, or not have it charged, etc. but I always have my phone! LOVE IT!
    Krysten Siba Bishop (@darwinianfail) recently posted…Motivation Monday – A DressMy Profile

    • True! I think of it as ‘micro-blogging’! Sometimes I don’t have enough to say (really!) for a full on blog post, but just enough for an Instagram post!

  3. I started instagram about a month or so ago and i’m just now discovering how useful it can be. These are great ideas Tamara!
    getfitchick recently posted…Click Espresso Protein Drink GiveawayMy Profile

  4. I need to figure out how to use instragram! Great idea!

    • Get on it Shaunna! It’s actually pretty easy to do the basics. Once you know how to take a picture and upload it you can start with all the bells and whistles!

  5. I completely agree – its a great way to keep a food journal without having to write anything down! I always have time to snap a picture but not to write down everything I eat.
    Jenny @ simply be me recently posted…Chocolate Coconut Cold OatsMy Profile

    • Do your friends and family think you’re crazy for always shooting pictures of food? My kids are getting used to it, finally!

  6. Thanks for the helpful instructions – I promise to start using this by Fitbloggin! 🙂
    Shira recently posted…Four Ways to Maintain Healthy HabitsMy Profile

  7. I love the creative ideas for combining instagram, accountability, and food journaling. Personally I am not one to post nor engage with food images. But I do enjoy seeing what people are up to in general and I do see the value of your idea.

    • Ha, ha! Yes, some people don’t love snapping pics of everything they eat. You know, my mom used to do it when I was a kid; Xmas, Easter, Thanksgiving. Always a picture of the table full of food before we were allowed to start passing things around.
      I’m getting to that age where I’m starting to act like my mother…

  8. I have to admit – I have a slight addiction to Instagram. When I was “unplugging” at the end of the summer, my one stipulation to my husband was that I could still use Instagram. Ha! I love taking and sharing pictures of lots of different things. I’ve actually found that sharing pictures of my meals makes me accountable – I don’t end up eating as much bad food if I know that I’m planning on sharing it. That’s a positive, right?
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted…Memories Captured: KindergartenMy Profile

    • I did the same thing when we were on holiday! No Wifi, but 3G on my phone. I kept in touch via Instagram and YouTube!
      And public accountability for food is great motivation to make wiser choices…

  9. I used Instragram and Diptic and love them both. You are so stinking clever! Love this post.
    AlexandraFunFit recently posted…End of Summer Trip to Rancho la PuertaMy Profile

    • Yes, I do need a shower. Can you smell me all the way from Santa Barbara?
      I need to start using Diptic. On my list…

  10. I LOVE instagram and it’s so useful and motivating! I find A LOT of inspiration, from food to fitness on there. So fun!
    Katie @wishandwhimsy recently posted…Triggers to TrashMy Profile

  11. Amy Davidson says:

    I use the fitbook, and I love it! I also use the MyFitnessPal app on my Android phone to keep track of calories and protein. I have never used Instagram before, but I can see how addictive it can be!

    • I’ve heard of fitbook, but never seen it in action. My main problem with most fitness journals is that they don’t give me enough room to write everything down! Does the fitbook have lots of space? Big boxes to write in?

  12. I will check out instaframe! I use Photogrid right now but that sounds better! Will have to see if there is one for Android that is free. People that don’t like to log even though it will give them the info they need, I always tell them to takes pics with their phone & log later if necessary. Ya never know what is keeping the weight on if ya don’t at least try to log & get the stats IMHO. 😉

    Instagram is addicting BUT it certainly helped me pass time at the long dental appt. this morn! 😉 I LOVE YOUR Instargam pics!!!

    You are great with sharing such helpful info!
    Jody – Fit at 54 recently posted…Gratitude Monday & the Dentist; HAPPY BDAY!!!My Profile

  13. I love instagram! I am so glad you finally joined! (:

  14. I really need to get Instagram, but I need a smartphone first 🙂

    Once I get it, though, it will be very time consuming. In a good way!
    Jamie @ couchtoironwoman recently posted…Pumpkins, Pumpkins, PumpkinsMy Profile

  15. I love checking out Instagram pictures. They make me want to cook more, but boy all these pictures are making me hungry!
    Abby @ BackAtSquareZero recently posted…Drop 10 UpdateMy Profile

  16. I recently started using PaleoViz for my food journal – photograph your food (or choose a photo from your library), then rate it based on how paleo it is. It gives you stats so you can see how you’re doing over time. The Eatery is another nice photo food-tracking app (both are on iTunes).

  17. I so use instagram the wrong, errr, misfit way 🙂
    MIzMiz recently posted…Im going GONG HEALING.My Profile

  18. I don’t use any type of journals. I have a weekly menu that acts as my journal and a workout calendar.

    Oh and I’m addicted to Instagram! And I seem to be obsessed with taking pictures of what I eat. I often wonder if my family and friends will look at my pics in the future and wonder why I photographed everything I ate LOL
    Jill @ Fitness, Health and Happiness recently posted…The Top 5 Benefits of Plank Exercises and a Plank-A-Day PRMy Profile

    • Jill, do you eat the same meals each week? As in, Monday is chicken, Friday is fish?
      I tried doing that with my family, but I never seemed to have the right groceries on hand for the right night… maybe now that I am more organized?

      And I so hear you; when we flip through iPhoto to look at pics, at least 50% of them are food!

      • I don’t have the same meals each week. I love to try new recipes (Thanks Pinterest!). I have a weekly menu and 94% of the time if it’s not on the menu I’m not eating it. For my family it’s more like 80% of the time. And I make my grocery list from my menu so I rarely have a recipe that I don’t have all of the ingredients for. Menu planning is a habit and I can’t imagine starting a week without one. Is that too much information LOL

        I’m hosting a menu planning challenge with another blogger if you’d like to join 🙂
        Jill @ Fitness, Health and Happiness recently posted…The Top 5 Benefits of Plank Exercises and a Plank-A-Day PRMy Profile

        • Ooh, tell me more about this menu planning challenge. I do plan, to a degree, but some days I pull something out of the freezer and wing the rest of the meal! A good reason to have a well-stocked freezer, fridge and pantry!

  19. great tips! love instagram!

  20. I use myfitnesspal for tracking food (protein, carbs and fat). It’s super easy.

    I do LOVE instagram. I had no idea about instaframe! Going to install it now. Thanks for the post!
    Jessica recently posted…Postpartum Fitness or Lack ThereofMy Profile

    • myfitnesspal is my go-to app as well! I recommend it to all of my personal training clinets. Have fun with Instaframe; it’s addictive too!

  21. Impressive publications and type of posting. I do believe I’ll check back on this site in the evening and see what else you have got available! 😉 I’m going to view if my wife and I are able to locate
    something about cool anti smoking posters!!
    stop smoking reviews recently posted…stop smoking reviewsMy Profile


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