If you're trying to lose weight, improve your health, or prevent disease, you must to take a closer look what you're eating (and what you're not). And there is no better way than keeping a food journal.
In fact, I require all of my clients to keep food journal. And here are my top 5 reasons why:
Compares Perceptions to Reality
Keeping a food journal is truly the only way to determine whether or not your perceptions match reality. Many people think they're eating healthy, but often find it eye opening when they see their food intake on paper. Because it's not just about what you eat. It's also about your eating habits.
Helps to Improve Your Diet
When you keep track of what you eat, you get a more detailed picture regarding your nutritional intake. For instance, are you eating enough protein? Are you eating too much sugar? Is your diet lacking sources of healthy fats?
Thus, you can use your food journal to help create a more balanced and nutrient-rich meal plan. And this will help you look and feel your best.
Helps Break Unhealthy Eating Habits
A good food journal keeps tracks of what you eat, but also how much you eat and when you eat.
You might learn that you eat more when you're dining with others than solo. Or, maybe you'll notice you always reach for sugar in the mid-afternoon. Seeing these patterns will help you make the necessary changes to break any bad habits.
For example, maybe you need to be more mindful when eating out with friends. Or, maybe you need a more balanced lunch to ward off your 3:00 PM sugar craving.
Identifies Potential Food Allergies, Sensitivities, & Intolerances
Even the healthiest foods can wreak havoc on some. Thus, for weight loss and optimal health, it's really important to learn what foods work for you and what foods don't.
Food allergies involve the immune system and reactions typically occur within two hours. On the other hand, non-immune related food sensitivities and intolerances are much more common and their reactions are usually delayed (up to 48 hours). Thus, they're much more difficult to detect.
However, using a food journal allows you to look back at your food intake should you start experiencing unexplained symptoms.
In some cases a food journal might help you realize that cheese causes you to bloat, which may be a sign of a dairy sensitivity or lactose intolerance.
Common symptoms of food sensitivities and intolerances include:
- Stomach cramps
- Excess mucus
- Mood swings
- Itchy or dry skin
- Joint pain
- Dark circles under eyes
- Night sweats
- Food cravings
- Brain fog
Connects the Dots Between Food and Your Health
What we eat affects every aspect of our physical and mental health. We can't expect to eat poorly and feel great. Some foods may energize you, while others drain you. And some foods may lift your spirits, while others weigh you down.
Thus, by examining your food journal, you can learn a lot about how food affects YOUR body and mind. And once you connect these dots, I guarantee reaching your health goals will be much easier.
Food Journaling Tips
Food journaling may seem time consuming, but it doesn't have to be. While you certainly can carry your journal around with you, you can also take a picture of your meals and snacks with your phone and send them to your self with notes about your energy level and mood before and you ate. Then, each night before bed you can use your photos and notes to complete the food journal.
Keeping a food journal is one of the best strategies you can implement to help improve your diet, break bad eating habits, prevent disease, and successfully achieve all your health and wellness goals.
So what are you waiting for? Download a free copy of the food journal I use with my clients and start tracking your progress today!