Have you ever considered keeping a food journal? According to studies, it could help you shed twice as much weight, making it an effective tool to transform your diet, your body and even your mind. So how does a food journal really benefit you? And how do you keep one? Is it time you analyzed your nutrition in black and white? It might prove to be an effective weight-loss and diet-changing tool!
If you can’t really see how a food journal could change what you eat, when and how much, then you might want to factor in the following benefits.
- Diet awareness – Seeing every morsel that passes your lips written down on paper connects you to the reality of what you are eating, how much and also when. You become aware of portion sizes and calorie content.
- Spot eating patterns – It can sometimes be difficult to really see any repetitions in your eating patterns, but when you actually look at what you have been eating at each mealtime or when you have been snacking, a clearer picture emerges. If you are eating late at night then you need to be aware of this, as well as if you are skipping meals.
- Recognize triggers – Behaviour is often triggered by a situation or a feeling and then it can become almost second-nature. Habits form easily from these triggers, so it is important to decipher what is ‘setting-off’ any unhealthy or over-the-top eating patterns
- Keeps you motivated – Knowing you need to fill in your food journal keeps you motivated to explore and change your diet for the better.
How do I keep a food journal?
There are many ways in which you can keep a record of what you eat, from logging fairly basic information to extremely detailed information. Here are a few pointers to think about:
- Understand your reasons – You will have greater success with your food journal if you know why you are keeping one. Do you want to lose weight or cut out certain unhealthy eating habits?
- Decide on the details – You do need to add in some idea of portion size, but decide on whether you are going to add in calories, saturated fat etc.
- Update regularly – Will you update each time you eat or daily? The best approach is to write down what you eat immediately, don’t wait or you may forget or skip an entry.
- Be honest – It’s a cliche but you are only harming yourself if you start to feel the shame and downplay your diet; it defeats the object of the exercise. Even if you have difficulty with this, remember your food journal is private and you don’t have to share the contents with anyone if you don’t have to.
- Create a mobile food journal – Keep your food journal with you or perhaps a small notepad you can use to jot down entries, to later add to your main journal. You need to get into the habit of eating and entering the information.
- Write down how you feel and what you are doing – Diet is often wrapped up in emotions and situations. A food journal that simply presents nutritional facts is of limited use. You need to add in the time, and where you were, what you were doing and how you were feeling.
- Look back and review – Decide on how long you will keep your food journal for and make sure that you use it. This means looking back and reviewing the details. Of course, the very act of filling in your food journal can be a powerful inspiration to making dietary changes but the real value comes in analyzing the contents.
Are you ready to add in some quality exercise to work alongside your food journal? If so, get in touch.