Keeping a food journal has many benefits especially in your journey to getting healthy and thriving. A Kaiser Permanente study involving more than 1,600 people found that those who kept a daily food journal lost twice as much weight over six months compared to those who weren’t regular recorders. Did you know that most people eat 30% more than they think and don’t realize how much their perception differs from reality. Often, our excuse for not keeping a food journal is because it takes too much time, but the truth of the matter is that it truly doesn’t. If you have 30 minutes each day to sit down and watch tv, you have enough time to keep a food journal. It’s important that we make our health a priority.
Keeping a food journal can be done in different forms. You can track it old school with pen and paper (click here for template) or opt for a food tracker app on your cell phone. Here are a few Free Food Tracking Apps:
Once you determine a food tracking option that you’re comfortable with, make a commitment to track everything you eat and/or drink for the next three days without making any modifications to your regular diet. Eat as you normally have, but this time make sure you write everything down. Make sure you include the times you graze from your co-workers candy dish. If you bite it, write it! If you drink it, ink it!
Afterwards, take time to analyze your food habits. Are you drinking enough water each day? How many servings of fruits and vegetables did you eat each day? How much of your diet consists of processed foods? Do your meals consist of protein, healthy fats (butter, olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, etc.) , and carbs (fruits & veggies)? Are you eating every 3-4 hours? If not, are you reaching for processed foods to curb your blood sugar dip? These are the type of questions you need to ask yourself and also take note of food triggers or sensitivities.
Now, for the next 21 days, you’re going to plan your meals ahead of time and continue to track everything that you consume. Why 21 days? Because it takes 21 days to create a habit. It’s not too long, but long enough to establish a healthy pattern. Here are some other reasons why keeping a food journal is beneficial:
- Keeps you accountable!
- Helps you recognize your eating patterns.
- Can help identify food intolerance and triggers.
- You’re less likely to perform mindless eating.
- Keeps you motivated!
I recommend that you keep a journal for at least 21 days every 6 months. That way it doesn’t feel overwhelming to keep this going indefinitely, but it can get you back on track when you start to slip back into bad habits. Journaling is also great with breaking through plateaus. When you lose weight, you need to adjust your consumption and journaling can help with that process by re-assessing your caloric intake.
Keeping a food journal has been super beneficial for me, but it only works if you are 100% honest.
We only have one life – let’s make it count! Here’s to living healthy and thriving.
Peace & Love,