If you’ve never tried food journaling before, you’ll be surprised at how revealing it is when you do. Often people eat without thinking and at the end of the day, don’t realize just how many calories they’ve consumed. I often hear people tell me that they barely eat and still gain weight, but once they food journal, they realize just how many calories they’ve consumed. It’s easier now with Smartphones, because you can just list the food you eat in the memo section or voice record it and transfer it to a journal at the end of the day.
The more information you record, the more you’ll know about your eating habits.
It also can be helpful to record the time of day, place you were, mood and even circumstances when you ate the food. If you reach for candy when you’re under stress, that’s information that can help you change an unhealthy habit. Finding a substitute for that candy, whether it’s taking a walk or eating a healthy snack you have ready will help you make smarter choices and conquer an unhealthy response. Learning how to cope with stress can also be important in a case like this.
You’ll find out if some foods leave you feeling ill.
If you constantly feel sick or have digestive problems, keeping a food journal can be a help to isolate whether a specific food is the culprit. Adding an entry about how you feel, such as nauseous or bloated might indicate an intolerance for certain foods like dairy or gluten. It’s easier to identify the culprit if those symptoms only appear after you ate food that contained the offending substance. It can save you money on doctors visits, eliminate the need for unnecessary medication and help you feel better.
Part of journaling is learning what a portion size is.
Before you can list how much you ate of a specific food, you have to know what portion size is for that food. It’s easier to track when you consider portion size rather than cupfuls or other type of measurement. While it might look like you aren’t overeating if you just list one order of fries, consider the difference it makes when you add the word jumbo before the word fries. Eating off a very large plate will fool you if you don’t know portion size, too.
- Food journaling not only tells you what you’re getting too much of, like calories. It also tells you what you need more of in your meal, like specific nutrients or additional protein..
- When you track your food, you’re more aware of those mindless handfuls of candy you ate or that last bit of pudding you finished in the serving bowl before putting it in the dishwasher.
- One study showed that people who journaled for three months, compared to those who didn’t, lost weight without going on a diet.
- When you food journal, you start to realize that it’s not a slow metabolism that’s preventing weight loss, but all those nibbles and extras you forget you ate throughout the day.