Is a Food Journal Really Important

Along with setting realistic goals, it is important to keep a food journal. Journaling can give you important information into understanding your successes and your setbacks. I will give you an outline to help you create a great success tool.

You can keep a computer-based journal or you can get a composition book or journal in a stationary store that you can personalize.

You should include these sections in your journal:
1. Date / day
Writing the day as well as the date will give you an extra visual to see if a certain day affects your success or setbacks

Wednesday – 12/14

2. Time, Name and Amount of Food you ate:
Be specific and write down each time and ALL foods and amounts. The more honest you are with yourself, the better you can see what helps you and what you need to work on. Even if you eat a carrot or 1 chocolate kiss, write down the time and exactly what you ate.

2 PM: 2 chocolate kisses, cup of hot chocolate

3. Where you ate the food:
Did you sit down with family, were you driving through a drive-thru, were you watching TV in the family room using a tray.

I made the hot chocolate, got the kisses and sat down in the family room to put my feet up and relax

4. How you felt 1 hour and 3 hours after you ate the food:
Tracking physical and emotional feelings can help identify possible health issues and triggers

3 PM: I felt energized. The candy was comforting, soft and creamy. I sat down with the chocolate and daydreamed for a few minutes.

5 PM: I was getting hungry and feeling a bit groggy.

5. What, if any were the triggers that caused you to eat:
Sometimes a busy schedule, s sick child, an upcoming appointment, or something on your mind can trigger eating

Oh no, it’s Wednesday, I forgot I need to pick up my 8 year old for her dance lesson today. I need gas and it’s raining!

6. What could you / did you do instead of eating if an emotional trigger make you want food:
If you begin to recognize emotional triggers, you can learn to substitute another pleasurable experience. Sometimes, just waiting 10 minutes for the urge to grab food can block that urge. Sometimes drinking a glass of water will help. You can pick a non-food substitute like putting your feet up for 10 minutes in a quiet setting, or looking at a magazine, or taking a different route. Positive self-talk works great too, and then once you have avoided the temptation, reward yourself. Keep a reward jar and put a dollar or even a quarter in it each time you get through an emotional trigger you identify. When the jar is full, reward yourself with a non food treat.

Wow, today was hard. I was running late and really wanted to stop at the drive-thru for dinner, but I didn’t! I remembered I had some extra stew so I went home and had a fast great homemade dinner. I put a dollar in my jar. Now I have $4 saved for the new blouse I want.

If your journal started by being critical and recording all those forgotten snacks you eat each day, you now have a record of your setbacks and feelings and you can begin to mark those positive entries, too.

If your journaling is off to a great start, you can compliment yourself at the hard work and determination you are experiencing.

Either way, you will have a specific record of your journey to great health!

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