So knowing what you eat and how you eat is a good way to assess what goes in, how it makes you feel and ways to look and see what you can or need to change. Often, people munch and snack and think nothing of it but even a granola bar can add up your calorie count for the day from anywhere from 100- 300 calories. . .
When you start a food journal, try not to nit pick everything you eat. (AKA don’t act like your on a diet, and don’t feel guilty if you ate 5 Oreos… or even 12! Just write it down) …. Write down everything that goes in your mouth down to the drinks you drink and the gym you chew. There is no point in keeping a journal if you don’t truly assess you eating habits and patterns if you don’t write down the truth and your not honest with yourself. So, I think a week is accurate enough, but if you want do it for a couple weeks, make it a week where there is a party or a get together where you know you’ll indulge a little just to see how you act around food. Look at what you gravitate to. And ask yourself questions similar to this when the week is over and your looking over your journal..
- What’s your vice- Are you a carb lover, sugar, salt or all 3?
- Do you tend to mainly eat sweet foods at night, during the day, in the morning?
- Do you snack while doing other activities? what are the activities your doing?
- On a tough day at work, do you eat more?
- What do you choose to eat when your stressed?
- Do you eat the same foods your children eat or what are you feeding them? (Mac N’ Cheese, fast food, gummy snacks?)
- Are you scrambled for time when your eating? (trying to squeeze in meals)
- Are you skipping meals because your too busy?
- Do you make your lunches for work or do you go out?
- How often per week/month do you dine out? Breakfast, lunch, and dinner…
- Do you tend to eat a lot of the same stuff?
- What are you drinking?
- How much are you drinking?
- How much water are you drinking?
Also, some good tips on when your logging ..
- Once you eat it, drink it, or chew it…. write it down, I’ve carried a food journal for years… I like the little ones because they can fit easily in the smallest purse and barely take up any room.
- Note the times your eating at.. (2am? 8 am? 11 pm? ) is there a pattern?
- No one is seeing your journal but you, so be honest…
- How did you feel when you eat __ food? (happy, nervous, bored, starving etc. )
- Where you doing anything while you were eating? (tv, driving, watching kids )
- How big were your proportions… (if your not sure of sizes in ( oz. , liters, etc.) use things as visuals, like the size of a baseball, or the size of the palm of your hand, as big as a quarter piece…)
- At the end of the day, write down any emotional things that may have happened. ( was it a tough day at work? Did you have the day off? Were you full of energy or tiered all day? )
So the switch! …
Once you start embarking on a healthier lifestyle, (i.e. eating healthier or noticing your eating a lot of sweets, so your making a point to not eat as much) notice how your logging is changing. Make sure your getting all your nutrients too. Are you eating a lot of protein and no veggies? or are you eating a lot of fruit and not as much protein? Notice different changes, how they make you feel and how your body reacts to certain foods… (this is how I found out I had a dairy allergy, Every time I would eat something with dairy in it, almost always an hour later, my stomach would hurt, my skin would break out the next day too… )
As you start eating healthier… A. you wont crave those Oreos & B. You wont want to write it down, to therefore you will be less likely to eat it… I love looking at my journal and see nothing but healthy good choices in it. Every once in a while I will have a food that’s in my journal and when I’m going over it, I think ” ahhh why did I eat that!? ” it happens, but the thing is not to dwell or feel guilty .. but rather to notice what your eating and how you can change it! =)
P.s. there are tons of different logs and graphs and outlines on Google if you need somewhere to start ! Happy logging!!!