Written Food Journals vs. Journal Applications: Pros and Cons

Food journal apps, like myFitnessPal and Lose It!, allow for easy tracking of dietary intake and exercise. But don’t ditch the old pen-and-paper method of journaling just yet! Here is a list of some pros and cons comparing written food journals versus journal applications.

Written Food Journals


Successful Weight Management: Beyond a Number

You see it everywhere, standing in line at the grocery store or while watching television: flashy weight loss programs that promise immediate results and dramatic drops on your bathroom scale. The truth is weight loss does not work that way! In fact, managing your weight is more like a rollercoaster ride rather than a steady decline. It can be discouraging when you dictate your weight loss journey by numbers on a scale…but you aren’t alone!

Sleep and eating habits

Are you struggling to maintain a healthy weight? Having a good night’s sleep is more important than you may think. Indulging in a restful night’s sleep is a major contributor to the health of your own well-being, and in maintaining a healthy body weight.

What is GLP-1 and why should I know about it if I’ve had bariatric surgery?

By now, we’ve all learned a thing or two about the complexity of obesity. Indeed, how our bodies manage weight is not as simple as the old equation diet + exercise. Obesity is considered a chronic, relapsing chronic disease (https://www.cma.ca/En/Pages/cma-recognizes-obesity-as-a-disease.aspx). As with other chronic diseases, there are multiple behavioural and physiological influences on how obesity unfolds for any one person.

Self-Monitoring: The Benefits of Writing Things Down

Writing down your daily meals and snacks can sometimes feel like a chore. But did you know that it comes with a pack of benefits?

What is self-monitoring?
Self-monitoring is the act of observing and recording your behaviours and practices (think food, activity, moods) to help you reflect and change your behaviours. Some common self-monitoring tools include food diaries, food recalls, exercise logs, or equipment such as pedometers. 

Navigating Social Media

The Facebook site said …

I’m a part of the online community network and they suggest …

I’ve been supplementing with (____) because someone on the peer network used it …

This is simply a snapshot into the ‘doctor internet’ comments that we receive in our daily practice at the bariatric clinic. Indeed, we support the strong network of peer support for bariatric patients. However, we must advise caution about sharing and receiving health advice online and with peers.
When engaging in online discussions and forums, consider:

Defuse the negative

Here in the bariatric clinic, we are home to some of the most vulnerable conversations that folks will have. We open up discussions about raw, human experiences around body, weight and food.

What’s the Fuss about Leptin?

Picture this: It’s Thanksgiving Day. You have been looking forward to the delicious food that your family has prepared. As you sit at the extended table with your family, you start to feel like you haven’t had anything to eat in a week. After enjoying the lovely home cooked meal, your grandmother starts to roll out a delicious pumpkin pie, but now you are feeling more stuffed than your Thanksgiving turkey. But how can you go from feeling like you haven’t had anything to eat in a week to feeling like you don’t want to eat for a week?

Sizzlin’ Summer Salads Recipes

It’s summer time, which can only mean one thing:  fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables.  What better way to cool off this summer than bringing a fresh salad to your family cookout?

Check out these three delicious recipes that are sure to please everyone.

Cucumber Watermelon Salad


  • 1 cup (250mL) watermelon, diced
  • ½ cup (125mL) English cucumbers, peeled and diced
  • 2 Tbsp. (30mL) finely chopped red chilli
  • 6 basil leaves, finely sliced
  • 6 mint leaves, finely sliced


Dietary advancement: risky textures

We hear it quite frequently: patients less than 2 or 3 weeks following a bariatric surgery venturing into soft or even fully textured food items.

'I felt fine, so I was ready to move on’

‘I’m just so tired of liquids and purees, and the (insert solid food choice here) went down fine.’

Changes to follow-up

The Ontario Bariatric Network (OBN) has recently made changes to the way post-operative bariatric patients will be followed.

For several years, Bariatric Centres of Excellence and Bariatric Assessment and Treatment Centres across Ontario have followed post-surgical patients for up to 5 years post-operatively. These patients are then transferred back to their primary care physicians for all bariatric-related care.

As patients continue to fill bariatric clinic sites, the OBN has identified a need to transfer care back the primary care physician at an earlier time.

What’s the difference between probiotic and prebiotic?

Let’s first break things down so we can digest this information (pun intended).

Our gut is a giant host to millions of bacteria with approximately 300 to 500 bacterial species!  In fact, the number of bacteria within the gut is almost ten times that of all the cells in the human body (talk about a wild party!). These bacteria have multiple roles within the digestive system that help you digest food and absorb essential vitamins. However, when your system is disturbed, it can lead to digestive issues. This is where your probiotics and prebiotics come in!

BMI: The Limitation in Assessing a Healthy Weight

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measurement that is calculated using your weight and height squared (BMI = kg/m2). This number is then assessed by placing it into one of four categories:

underweight  <18.5kg/m2
normal weight 18.5-24.9kg/m2
overweight 25.5-29.9kg/m2
obese >30.0kg/m2

Sounds easy right?

As much as calculating your BMI can be easy, it doesn’t tell you the whole picture. The BMI calculation does not take into consideration the composition of your body weight.

Cooking for Camping

Hot dogs, chips, marshmallows, bacon, watermelon …

Yes, we understand. There are memories, traditions and conveniences to consider when it comes to camping fare. But we don’t need to compromise a healthy lifestyle for a few days or weeks of vacation fun. A body’s need for healthy food never goes on vacation. It may take some extra planning and a step outside of the food comfort zone, but these healthy camping options will keep your taste buds happy for your next campground cookout.


Constipation Problems? Try Insoluble Fibre

Fibre is an important part of having a healthy diet, but if you are having constipation problems, it’s best to turn to insoluble fibre.

Fibre on the go

Did you know that most adults require 25-35 grams of fibre each day to maintain gut health, bowel regularity and overall optimal health status? Try these tasty muffins to up your fibre intake.

High Fibre Muffins (recipe makes 12 muffins)

So, you’ve decided to go vegan. But, what about protein?

Needless to say, protein plays a significant role within our body. Known as the “building blocks” of life, protein is responsible for our skin, cartilage, hair and nails. It also helps form important enzymes, hormones, and new tissues within our body. Most notably, protein helps build and maintain our muscles, and forms red blood cells to carry oxygen to all parts of our body. Our body requires 20 amino acids, the most basic units of protein, in order to carry out body functions.

Gut Hormones 101: What Role Does Ghrelin Play in my Body?

It’s 12:00pm, and your lunch break is in half an hour. Your stomach is starting to sound more like a pack of communicating whales, and your co-workers in the cubicles next to you are becoming concerned. You can’t concentrate, and all you are thinking about is your delicious lunch. So why are you so hungry, even though you have had a snack an hour ago?

It’s all thanks to a hormone called ghrelin.

Ghrelin is known as the “fast-acting hunger hormone.” Its main function is to increase appetite so that you seek out (and eat) food.

Easy, Balanced Breakfast

Consuming a healthy meal in the busy morning may take less time than you think when you are prepared. Take a look at some of these simple, balanced breakfast suggestions.

On the go? Mix these ingredients in a blender for a simple yet delicious smoothie

  • 125 mL (½ cup) water or 100% fruit juice
  • 125 mL (½ cup) fresh or frozen fruit
  • 175 g (¾ cup) yogurt
  • 15 mL (1 Tbsp) skim milk powder

Want to warm up? Use quick-cooking oats to make a heart-warming bowl of oatmeal. Enjoy with a glass of milk or water.

Do I have to drink Optifast® before my bariatric surgery?


The Ontario Bariatric Network  physicians and surgeons have selected Optifast® as the pre-surgical meal replacement beverage of choice for patients prior to their bariatric surgeries. We ask that patients use this beverage prior to a bariatric surgery to prepare their bodies for a safer surgery.

I’m addicted to food.

We’ve heard it before: people can live without alcohol or tobacco but no one can go a day without food. For many folks, the thought of changing typical food choices or eating habits can evoke anxiety and fear. A feeling of I can’t live without.

Even when I look at food, I start to gain weight.

If you’ve ever struggled with weight or body image issues, this is a familiar grumble. It’s acting in defeat and surrendering your own worth without first acknowledging your patience, determination and value.

Spot the problem: When we believe our thoughts more than our rational mind, we lose the fight before we begin. Kindness, understanding and self-respect go a long way in sustaining behaviour change.

Whoa! Hold the carbs … don’t those make me gain weight?

It is almost daily that a patient explains ‘I can’t eat carbs … they make me gain weight’ or laments ‘the only time I’ve been successful in weight loss is when I’ve followed a high protein diet … when I added back the carbs, all the weight came back.’

This is a true fight with food. It’s frustrating, disheartening and defeating. More than that, it’s misinformed.

Take the Fight out of Food! Spot the problem. Get the Facts. Seek Support.

Every March, Dietitians of Canada campaigns to bring health and nutrition issues to the attention of Canadians. This year, dietitians across Canada are encouraging you to improve your relationship with food, no matter the struggle.  We want to encourage you to enjoy eating and to move past frustration and confusion. 

If you’re fighting with food, try out this 3-step approach:

1. Spot the problem: Define what’s causing your fight with food.

2. Get the facts: Use facts from credible sources to decide what needs to be done to solve the problem.

Change is here! Annual Post-Op Group Class

Can you believe that the Kingston Bariatric Centre of Excellence (BCoE) has been supporting patients in their best weight and health for 5 years? We feel so lucky that that we’re able to support our community in the journey to better health.

As our patient volumes  continue to grow, we’ve found ourselves challenged in meeting our patient demands. So our team of innovative health professionals started to brainstorm. How can we better support our patients who are one year and beyond surgery?