5 Journaling tips In your Lifestyle Balance Program (NDPP #1)

Keeping a food journal is a key part of reaching your health and fitness goals. Keeping a journal takes time and effort, some planning and a little discipline…BUT, it’s worth it

Though food journaling seems like a difficult task, it doesn’t have to be, and it is proven to help you toward your health goals if done properly. In fact, you may find expanding your journaling very helpful.  It serves as an escape or emotional release and forces you to check out on everything else and focus on you. It’s one of the best ways to clear your mind and get in touch with your thoughts and feelings. It forces you to focus on internal awareness of the present and process thoughts and emotions in the here-and-now.

Food journaling is a great way to make yourself more aware of what you’re consuming on a daily basis, and it can make weight loss or maintenance efforts much easier.  And, it can help guide discussions between you and your doctor or life coach about potential medical conditions. 

Here are 5 tips to keep in mind when logging your food

1. Write down everything — even if it’s ‘just a taste’

You can log all the meals and snacks in the world, but if you don’t log the small, unsuspecting tidbits of food and drink you consume, your food journal won’t be accurate.  Adding creamer to coffee or a cookie in the break room at work.  The devil is in the details.  Writing them down in your phone notes is a good as they occur.  Not logging will result in inaccuracies that leave you wondering why you haven’t reached your goals.

2. Be honest and specific

Write down exactly what you ate, not a version of what you ate to avoid bad feelings. For example- note if the chicken has been fried, and not just “chicken”.  The nutrition content is very different between the two. Also, be very specific regarding the amounts of food you eat.

3. Get out your phone camera

Our memories can play tricks on us and we are actually very susceptible to inaccuracies and forgetfulness, and it doesn’t take long to trick yourself into believing a lie.    Taking photos of your food in addition to writing things down in your food journal. Provides the most accurate evidence, plus it’s fun to look back and see how your eating patterns have changed over time

4. Note the 4 W’s when eating When, Where, What and Who with

What time did you eat, where did you eat, and who were you with while eating? These things all have a big impact on how much we eat and what kinds of food we eat.   You might notice you tend to eat much more while sitting on the couch versus sitting at the table or watching TV versus not watching TV. Writing down what you’re doing while eating can help you understand your eating patterns. Also, Maybe you eat less when in the presence of others because you are distracted and talking and enjoying the company. 

5. Track your feelings

Some people eat when bored or stressed, happy, sad or lonely. Everyone has different coping mechanisms for different emotions, In fact, emotional eating is a legitimate health concern. Paying attention to your moods and how they affect the types of food you eat can help you discover other ways to cope with emotions.