Have you ever had a food journal, or even heard of keeping one? If you haven’t, you’d be surprised at how this simple tool can really help you lose weight. People sometimes eat mindlessly, a handful of M&Ms as you pass the candy bowl, that last cookie on the plate so you can wash it and far more than one serving size of dinner, even though you considered it one serving. Keeping a food journal used to require carrying around a paper and pad, but with Smartphones today, your memo section or voice recording makes it easy to transfer to a journal at the end of the day.
Food journals can be about more than just how much and what you eat, but also how you feel.
Keeping an accurate record can mean more than just recording food, the amount of food, when you ate it and the number of carbs or calories it contained. In fact, some people don’t even record calories if they’re trying to learn to eat healthier and just look at the type of food they eat and when they’re more apt to eat junk. Others record how they feel emotionally. If they find they turn to candy when they’re upset or emotional or potato chips when they’re angry, they can choose an alternative method of dealing with the emotions and make a smarter choice, like walking a bit or working out and crunching on some veggies.
Food journaling can be vital if you have an illness nobody can identify.
You don’t have to feel desperately ill to get the benefit of a food journal. Just feeling gassy or queasy could be a sign. If you have symptoms that seem to always appear after eating certain foods, like next step would be eliminating it from your diet to see if it brings relief. Recording how you physically feel, and specific symptoms helps you with this. It can help your doctor narrow the search and even eliminate unnecessary medication. Remember, at one time gluten and lactose intolerance weren’t heard of so were misdiagnosed. Many people were given an ulcer diet before 1960, which was high in cream and milk, when in reality they were lactose intolerant and it made their situation worse.
You have to learn portion control to journal.
That’s a good thing. Identifying portion size can help you track your food better and see just how many calories you eat. You also have to be precise. Instead of noting you ate an order of fries, you have to note how many you ate. There are all sizes of French fry orders, but 12-15 in one serving size.
- You can trick yourself into eating more or less by varying the size of the plate. A large serving plate will make you feel like you’re eating less than it would if you put the same amount on a smaller plate. It’s another reason serving size is important.
- When you food journal, you can track your macro and micro nutrients to ensure you have a balanced diet. Whether it’s a vitamin, mineral, phytonutrient, fiber, protein, carb or fat, you’ll have a record.
- Food journaling can help pinpoint your problem losing weight. If diligently record every bite, and your carb or calorie count indicates you should be losing weight, but aren’t, you need to consider going to a doctor for help. If you find you’re overeating, there’s no more excuses.
- A study had two groups of people, one who journaled, but did nothing else and the other that didn’t journal and did nothing else. The group that journaled lost weight, despite the fact that they didn’t diet.
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