When it comes to food journaling, or food logging, you will probably hear two different stories from those who have tried it. About half will say that a food journal was immensely helpful for their weight loss efforts, and about half will say it was too time-consuming or difficult. The first group would obviously encourage you to give it a go. As for the second group, we know that what works for some people simply doesn’t work for others… Or maybe the tactic would have been helpful, if they had better structured their efforts.
Either way, if you decide to give food journaling a try, we suggest the following five steps to making it an effective practice.
Choose your method. Some people still prefer the traditional pen and notebook, while others enjoy the high-tech convenience of a food logging app. Either one is fine, but choose a method that feels good to you. Otherwise you probably won’t stick with it. If you decide to go with an app, try out two or three for the first week, and then go with the one that feels easiest to use.
Log foods immediately. Don’t wait until the end of the day, when you’re tired and stressed, to try and remember everything you ate that day. Log foods as you eat them, or preferably just before eating. In fact, pausing to log a food before consuming it can sometimes help prevent over-indulging in cravings when you’re not really hungry.
Be honest. This isn’t a graded assignment! Your food journal won’t be effective if you leave out that cupcake or slice of pizza due to embarrassment.
Don’t forget the extra calories. This is the tedious part of food journaling, but it’s important. Remember to include the butter on your potato, the cream in your coffee, and so on when you log meals and snacks. Otherwise you won’t obtain an accurate calorie count.
Take note of your moods, too. It only takes an extra moment to record your mood, but over time this record can become an invaluable tool. It can help you to understand yourself better, and learn to avoid certain mood triggers (and replace indulgences with healthier habits).
For more weight loss tips or to learn about proper nutrition for weight loss, give us a call to schedule an appointment. Bring your food journal, if you have one, and we can help you make dietary and lifestyle changes to achieve your health goals.