Eating is a necessary part of life, it keeps us alive, and healthy eating keeps our brains alert and our blood flowing. But, we are all human and it is so easy to over indulge at times. Whether it is on dinner portions of those tempting snacks, anything in overabundance can cause
havoc on our health. Insert Food journaling! This simple act of journaling when and what you consume can show how mindless snacking, large portions and bad food choices are impacting you. Food journals are an important method for tracking food consumption and can support a variety of goals, according to a study about the Barriers and Negative Nudges: Exploring Challenges in Food Journaling. Once you start, it will be hard to stop and you’ll be surprised at how your mind and body responds to a consistent food journaling plan!

ACCOUNTABILITY

Food journaling will reveal more than just how many calories you’re consuming, it can also show you the different nutrients you’re putting in your body. The necessary daily fat, carbohydrate and protein intake is different for each person, but food journaling can show you exactly how much of each category you’re consuming. Starting a food journal will keep you accountable as the habit of recording everything you consume is created. Try not to get discouraged and remain accountable with yourself, or try food journaling with a friend! However, remember only you can be accountable for you, and seeing changes in your body is a result of what you put in it. Taking the time to add everything you eat might seem tedious at first, but it won’t be long until you log without blinking an eye.

TIP: Be Honest, Not Ashamed. It’s OK to spoil yourself every once and awhile!

HOW DOES YOUR BODY FEEL?

Instead of being addicted to sugar, become addicted to feeling energized and being healthy. As you track exactly what you’re putting in your body, you will begin to notice when certain foods like gluten or sugar affect your digestive system. Keep track of caffeine intake and water as well to see how it affects your mental mood, your digestive system and your skin’s clarity. If you notice something is bothering you, try eliminating it from your diet, then slowly adding it back in while recording how it makes you feel. This is a common way of determining intolerances. If you see a pattern or have questions, visit your doctor for a more in depth look at your dietary needs.

FIND A PATTERN

It takes time to form a habit, but sometimes we form habits without realizing it. Recording not only what you eat, but when you eat can determine patterns in your snacking. Do you eat when you’re hungry or just because you’re bored? Or does the airing of your favorite TV show call for popcorn and candy every week? These habits can adversely affect your fitness goals and you might not even realize you’re doing it. Realizing these patterns will cause you to think before you eat and ask yourself “Is this really benefiting my body in a positive way?” Next time your favorite show comes on, skip the junk food and eat fruit or nuts to slowly work toward breaking the habit completely.

LET’S GET STARTED

If you’re feeling old fashioned, there are several food journals available that are small enough to fit in a purse or briefcase so you can have it handy all day.

Daily Food Journal

$7.95, peterpauper.com

Diet Minder Personal Food & Fitness Journal

$15.95, Memory Minder Journals 

If you like everything on your phone, check out this app to keep everything you do in one place. Most food journal apps also have barcode scanning abilities, making journaling a breeze.

MyPlate Calories Counter App

FREE in App Store

by Morgan Hill