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March 25, 2023

The Importance Of A Food Journal

Posted In: Mindset, Nutrition

People who have a problem losing weight have found that using a food journal is helpful. While meal plans and healthy recipes from our nutrition team provide an excellent benefit, a food journal can be the first step to identifying habits that are sabotaging your efforts. Meal plans can help you as you learn ways to make meals and snacks healthier and lower in calories and a food journal can be another clue why other attempts to lose weight have failed.

You may think you barely eat, but once you write down each morsel, you’ll be surprised.

When you keep a food journal, you track everything you eat, including how much you ate. If you’re consuming an item that’s still in its original package, reading the nutritional information can tell you not only the serving size but the number of calories for each serving. You don’t walk around with a scale to weigh everything or measuring cups, so you have to find other ways to measure items that aren’t in a package, like a slice of cake. There are simple ways to measure, like using the size of a deck of cards for meat or the size of dice for cheese. Since serving size is extremely important, you need to include it.

Don’t forget to include condiments and drinks.

List everything you eat or drink, even water. Water doesn’t have calories, but since most people don’t drink enough, recording it can identify if you do. Listing condiments can be important, particularly on items you make at home, where there’s a potential to slather mayonnaise, ketchup and other higher-calorie condiments on your sandwich. Tracking what you drink can make a huge difference. If you have three colas a day, it’s an extra 300 calories. It takes 3500 calories to gain a pound. At 300 extra calories a day, it would only take 12 days to put on a pound.

Food journals can help identify the cause of health issues.

If you’re chronically bloated or feel ill after meals, consider the potential for a food intolerance or allergy. Food journaling can help you solve that mystery, too. By listing not only the food you consume, but also whether you have an “episode” of feeling bad, you can narrow down the culprit to a specific food or find there’s no identifiable pattern, so food is not the cause. Keeping a food journal should be your first step to finding the reason for the mystery illness. If you have a doctor’s appointment, take the journal with you.

  • Studies found that when people wrote down the food they ate, they tended to eat less. One reason is that it made them more aware of food mindlessly eaten, like that last spoonful of potatoes in the serving bowl.
  • Knowing what you eat and how much can also help you improve your diet. You may notice patterns of high carb processed foods, foods with added sugar or lack of vegetables and fiber, and work on correcting those issues.
  • Some people hate the idea of carrying around a journal. The good news is that you don’t have to do that. You can track your food intake on a notepad in your phone or make audio or video recordings.
  • Are you an emotional eater and you stuff your feelings down with food? Food journals can help you identify that. Just record your mood or circumstances when you’re eating.

For more information, contact us today at Team-ISC