Almost everything out there about weight loss suggests that keeping a food journal helps. Recommendations sometimes include writing down not only what was eaten, but how much, when, and in what emotional state. There are many theories about why this works.
Of course, keeping data allows tracking. If we don’t know what we are eating, how can we adjust? The act of writing down each bite also creates mindfulness. We may not want to record for posterity that midnight cookie, so we might skip it. Patterns can emerge: we overeat at those Sunday brunches with Grandma and on Mondays after that stressful staff meeting; we eat no vegetables on Thursdays because we do the shopping on Fridays and we are already out by Thursday.
Yes, writing down all the foods is a pain in the patella (as my son used to say when he was little). Some people find the millions of software programs out there helpful. Others like fancy notebooks. All I can manage is a series of daily post-it notes. I won’t do it if it is complicated. As usual, the take-away is do what works.