Food journals can be great tools for healthy eating and weight loss, but only if you keep them correctly. If you’re daunted by the idea of tracking what you eat, you don’t have to be. Here’s how to keep a great food journal that will help you achieve your healthy eating goals.
Start with a few days
Ideally, you’d keep a journal of every little thing you’ve eaten every single day for a few weeks so you can see patterns of eating that might be problematic. To start with, just track a few weekdays and one weekend day, but make sure you write down everything you eat and drink.
Record food and drink immediately
The longer you wait, the more likely you’ll be to forget something. Keep your journal handy so you can jot down snacks, meals, and other random foods that find their way into your mouth.
Note what you were doing while you ate
This can help you detect patterns of behaviour that trigger eating. Maybe you snack when you watch television or eat when you’re stressed or sad. Emotions can trigger eating, from boredom to the blues, and once you become aware of this, you can be more mindful of your eating habits.
Be honest with yourself
You’re not going to be graded on your journal. In fact, no one has to see it but you. However, if you aren’t completely honest with yourself about your eating habits, you’ll never be able to change them. And try not to be too judgmental…cut yourself some slack, especially when you first start. It can be quite a shock to see your actual daily food and beverage intake written down on paper. It’s okay to be emotional, but remind yourself that you’re on your way to making positive changes that will help you for the rest of your life.
Try to eat your best
It’s not enough to just monitor what you eat–you need to change it, too. Aim for a variety of healthy proteins, plenty of veggies, whole grains and healthy fats!