Photo: Viktor Hanacek
Are you having trouble losing weight? Do you wonder why you can't seem to get a handle on your health when it seems you're eating right?
I have an idea - a food journal.
[Insert groan here.]
I know food journals are not a new concept. You've heard about them and maybe even kept a journal once in the past, but I want to encourage you to try it one more time.
It's very easy to see where you're going wrong when you can look over your previous menus and study what you ate. One piece of pie on Christmas Eve didn't seem so bad, but you hadn't really noticed the 3 cookies, 2 pieces of fudge and 4 chocolate covered pretzels you ate earlier in the day. It all adds up.
So what's the best way to journal? Write down everything you eat and drink, including snacks and bites you sneak while you're cooking, on to paper. (No devices for this one, handwriting is better.)
At one time my dad wrote down everything he ate and drank, sometimes even before he ate it. When he thought about the amount of calories he was about to eat there were things he decided he didn't really want after all.
Years ago I had a friend who was conscious of her calorie intake and decided she would rather eat her calories than drink them, so she gave up pop, coffee syrups and other beverages loaded with calories. Water is always best for your body anyway.
How To Journal
Find a nice journal (Target, Hallmark, Barnes and Noble) or a new spiral-bound notebook that you think will be fun to write in and easy to carry with you when you go out.
As you journal make notes about what you eat, what you are doing when you eat (on the run, seated with family, watching TV), and what emotions you feel (happy, angry, bored, stressed, lonely).
This journal is only for you to see (unless you want to share it with a friend or doctor) so be completely honest. You're not going to be judged or flunk at life - you're just going to have a better idea of where your calories are coming from and what you may need to eliminate from your overall diet. This will help you create a plan for the future. When you know you eat cookies in a high-stress situation, you can have a plan to avoid the cookies and eat nuts instead. (Or something like that.)
If the thought of journaling every day is overwhelming to you, journal every other day, but be faithful and consistent. At the end of the month evaluate your intake and make adjustments for the new month.
What To Eat
Include at least 5 - 7 servings of fruits and vegetables (more if possible)
Nuts and seeds
Quality oil (olive oil, walnut oil, fresh avocado)
Protein (legumes, eggs, salmon, meat that is free-range and anti-biotic free)
What Not To Eat
Minimize dairy, wheat, corn, gluten
Eliminate sugar, processed food, fast food
These posts may also help you with ideas:
The new year starts next week, so it's the perfect time to start journaling. If you do this, please report back at the end of January and let me know how it went and what you discovered about yourself or any tips you have about the journaling process.