It’s time for me to restart my food journal. All the latest research on weight loss and maintenance concludes that people who write down what they eat lose more than those who don’t. I’m not desperately looking to lose pounds but I know that my fat percentage has gone up over the last few weeks. I can blame it on vacation, I can blame it on PMS, or I can blame it on a the real culprit – my current inability to pay any attention to what goes into my gaping maw.
I’ve been trying to be more mindful of my eating habits and I eat fairly well, at least compared to how I’ve eaten in the past. However, by the time lunch rolls around I’m not necessarily paying attention to how much I’ve eaten for breakfast (and mid-morning snack) and then choosing lunch accordingly. I’m also not one of those people who forget to eat. I’m more likely to forget that I’ve eaten already and then eat again, you know, just in case. A food journal can help with both these issues.
If you’ve never kept a food journal it goes a little something like this: Write down what you eat. That’s it. You can get all fancy and buy prefab journals and write down other stuff like how you were feeling and what you were doing at the time but the biggest thing it to write down everything you eat. The simple act of taking the time to write everything down makes you infinitely more aware of your actions – like how many times you actually open the container and grab “just a couple” chocolate covered cranberries (not that I do this. That I know of. Dang it, where’d they all go?) Moving along.
One of the things I discovered when I kept a journal in the past was that I was beating myself up unnecessarily. The days when I was the most negative and berated myself for eating too much junk were
actually the days I ate the best. So it works both ways – It not only keeps you honest with yourself but it gives you a reality check. We’re too hard on ourselves already. It’s nice to be able to take a step back and take an objective look before jumping to conclusions.
Finally, the journal will help you recognize patterns. Do you eat out more than you realize? Do you eat less on the days you have a good breakfast? Are you sabotaging a good day of eating with those chocolate covered cranberries (What? It’s fruit! I’m getting antioxidants!)
I’m going to restart my food journal. I’d like to see just how many or how few veggies I’m eating. Feel free to join me and share your insights here.