Mar 2, 2022
Calories, Carbs, Protein and other stuff…
The Importance of Keeping a Food Journal
You may have started the year out with a resolution or intentions to improve your health. This improvement requires changing what you eat.
Changing what you eat can be a goal of yours that soon dwindles to failure. The failure can be a result of not actually keeping track of what you actually consume.
A food diary can be a successful tool in the process of helping you understand your eating habits and patterns, and help you identify the foods … good foods, and not-so-good foods you eat on a regular basis. Research shows that for people interested in losing weight, keeping a food journal can be a very effective tool. It is an effective tool in helping you to recognize what you put in your body and then to change that behavior.
If a Physician or Nutritionist suggested that you keep a food diary, here are just a few benefits:
- You become aware of what you consume during the day.
- You are now held accountable for portion control. Going back for seconds and thirds should become a thing of the past when you begin to see the amount of food you are taking in written down on paper.
- A food journal helps you track carbohydrates, fats, fiber, proteins, water, etc.
Most nutritionists will agree that a successful food journal keeper is a person who commits to accuracy and consistency.
So, what should you keep track of?
- What are you eating? Keep a track of the specific food and beverages consumed. Writing down how it was prepared (baked, broiled, fried, etc.) helps you further determine calories, fats, etc.
- How much are you consuming? List the amount of food you are eating, (cups, teaspoons, ounces, etc.) Purchasing a food scale is essential to the accuracy here.
- When are you eating? Keeping track of the time you eat can be very helpful in identifying problem times, such as late-night snacking or snacking during the day while working.
- How did you feel while eating? This is a big one that some doctors and nutritionists do not explain to their patients. Noting if you were happy, sad, stressed, anxious, lonely, bored, tired, etc. can help you identify why did you eat in the first place. Sometimes we eat just because the food is there and available.
Once you start keeping track of these categories, make it a commitment to review your notes regularly. If you are serious about making changes, if there are any eating behaviors you notice that you DO NOT like, meditate on them and work to change them.
Eating on the go is a potential danger zone. It is best to sit at a table, prepare your meal, the table setting, and take time to enjoy your meal and really take in the ingredients. Eating on-the-go causes over-eating, because 85% of the time, you do not remember how the food actually tasted or maybe even what you ate, so your brain tells you that you were not 100% satisfied.
When keeping a food journal, keeping the time of when you eat is helpful.
Staggering your meals enough hours apart so you’re never starving can help you not to stop for that favorite burger and fries of yours in the Drive-Thru.
Starting your day with a balanced breakfast and having it written down can help you be fueled during the day so you are not in a deficit mode of basic nutrients. The brain is aware of what you have consumed and acts accordingly. The brain sends you a message and your stomach that says: “I’m satisfied.”
If you decide to have ‘Cheat Days’, write the items you eat down in your food journal as well. When you have those days that you get off track, going back and reviewing your ‘Cheat Days’, you’ll see what you ate and from there can make a decision if you want to do that again.
Where can you purchase a Food Journal? Amazon has many styles.
Once you get into the habit of keeping a food journal…stick with it. The results will prove beneficial for you. You will begin to see results in more areas than one.
Please send your success stories to: firstname.lastname@example.org – I’d love to hear them and encourage others with your stories in the future!
By: Eden Barbee-Mabry / (@gardenonthegram – IG/ @EdenJBe – Twitter)
Eden Barbee-Mabry is an Education Support Analyst with the State of Georgia. Eden is a native of Kalamazoo, Michigan, and was led to relocate to Atlanta, Georgia after graduating from Clark Atlanta University in 1988. Eden joined Black Girls Run! in Spring of 2016 and graduated from the Walk B4 You Run program in June of 2016 and is currently Run Lead for the Fairburn, Georgia group. Eden is a purse lover and strives to inspire every woman because her belief is that although the circumstances may be different, every woman can extract strength from another woman’s story.