Realizing poor habits or even good habits helps us to understand our lifestyle patterns, needs, and changes that are necessary. In retrospect to weight loss, keeping a food journal helps to indicate good and bad eating habits. It also helps with understanding habits while eating; such as watching TV, driving, after exercise, or other activities. These habits can identify if mindless eating is a problem as well.(If you are unfamiliar with Mindful eating refer back to our second blog Mindful Eating and Eating Decisions.) Identifying problems or positive actions helps to determine the right course of action to make healthy changes.
There are so many ways to keep a food journal-it’s something that can be modified for different lifestyles or health reasons. It can help to identify unhealthy eating habits, sugar intake, emotional eating, water intake, nutritional deficiencies, and more! The outcome of the food journal depends on how honest, detailed, and accurate the logging is! Attempting to keep a journal of everything, everyday can be overwhelming. So it is best to break it down; write down what you eat on three weekdays and 1 weekend day. If it is easy to do each day, then go for it!
- Record everything you eat and drink immediately, including the quantity
- Record the time as well
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- Describe how you felt while you ate (starving, full, bored, angry, happy, nervous, sad?)
- Note what you’re doing while you eat (work, watching TV, sitting at the table?) with this information; also add where you ate (home, work, car, restaurant)
- You can also add in who you are with when you eat
- Be honest; dishonesty is only harming yourself with this
- Review each day and note any patterns, negative actions, or changes you’d like to make
It is important not to cheat yourself with the exercise. Write everything down, even if it does not seem like much as soon as you consume it. Do not try to rely on your memory and tell the truth in the journal! Review it each day or every couple of days to help increase your own awareness about your self. This is an important step, recording is a process but reviewing is the lesson! There are scientific studies that prove keeping a food journal is beneficial to weight loss and a healthy lifestyle.
Below is an example of a filled out food journal page, they can be altered or changed to fit any lifestyle. There is also a blank page to print and try at home! Enjoy!
There are hundreds of printable templates available for at home food diaries online. There are also apps such as MyFitnessPal, Spark, and others that can be downloaded to your smart phone to keep a log. If you are struggling with weight loss, lifestyle changes, emotional eating, mindful eating, or if you’re just curious about your eating habits then give the journal a try! It could be extremely revealing!