One of the side benefits of keeping a food journal as in writing down everything you eat and adding up your caloric intake is that just seeing the number ratcheting up puts the damper on your eating.
I’m surprised some days, when I eat, then write it down and add it up. How, I think, did the number get so high? I didn’t eat that much food. But---the food was calorie dense. Other days, I think wow---is that all the calories I’ve taken in?…. I’ve had a ton of food. I’d be wise to repeat those days.
Even if I’m not holding myself to a calorie limit for the day because it’s a special day like my birthday, continuing to keep a running tally does have a restraining effect. And that alone is a very good reason for keeping a food journal. Too many of us, myself especially included, have food amnesia. Seeing the cold hard numbers reins us back to reality.