Why is it important to keep a food journal? A lot of the time there is a huge discrepancy between what we think we eat and what we actually eat. How many times have you sat down with a bag of chips while watching television only to realize you ate the entire bag? A food journal magnifies these habits we're not willing to admit to or realize. Rob Carels, Ph.D. a psychology professor at Bowling Green Kentucky University explains the benefits of food journaling, "Almost everyone who does it is going to lose weight." The Kaiser Permanete's Center for Health Research also says, keeping a food journal can double a person's weight loss.
Keeping a food journal can assist a person by focusing on areas that may help or are hindering their weight loss success. By writing everything down you will be sure to notice if you are missing important foods necessary to support weight loss or if there is too many bad foods and beverages sabotaging your weight loss success. By keeping a food journal you can become conscious of;
- Limiting Sweets
- Limiting carbonated beverages
- Eating more fiber, vegetables, grains
- Limiting emotional eating
- Avoid skipping meals
- Overfilling your stomach
- Eating due to emotions
By tracking the food and beverages you consume each day you become consciously aware of what you're actually eating verses what you think you are eating. If you have a half cup of vegetables write it as such and don't worry about the calorie counting. Acknowledge the portion sizes you consume each day.
Be aware of your surroundings. Where did you eat? Was it standing at the kitchen counter, in front of the television, in the car, or at your desk?
How did you feel at the time you were eating? Were you stressed, happy, rushed, etc?
How hungry were you before you ate and after?
M= Moderately Hungry
SL= Slightly Hungry
TF= Very full and tired
ST= Stuffed, ready to explode and feeling sick
A food journal will make you aware of portions, environment, emotions, and hunger rating before your meal and satisfaction after each meal. All of these are important tools to help you successfully lose weight.
Another successful way to journal is by using photo journaling. Before you eat take a photo of your breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinner. You can upload them to your Facebook for accountability or you can upload them to a notebook on your computer to keep track of just how much and what you are eating. Sometimes seeing it after is an eye opener. This is a great tool if you plan on eating out at a restaurant because they frequently give you double the serving size you should be consuming. Try food journaling or photo journaling for an entire week. Weigh yourself before you begin and after the week is completed and compare your results.