Happy Friday everyone!!
Hope you are doing well :)
I have another special post that will be coming at you later today - it is a special someone's birthday!!
Happy Birthday Mon Amour!!
Focus On: Food Journal
I have been keeping a regular food journal/food diary for a relatively short amount of time (about 5 months) but I am a total convert! I honestly think that it gives a good time to reflect on what you put into your body, and changes the way you think about those 'cheat days' (or weeks, or months, or whatevs) since you will be writing it down no matter how out-of-control you got with the ice cream bucket or family size bag of Mrs Vickies salt and vinegar chips. Clearly, I would never do such a thing...
This is a bit of a strange ‘Focus On’ post, since they are usually on fitness classes, but I think it is an important topic to cover all the same. Hope you like it!
What to Expect
To keep track of everything that you eat on a daily basis.
I realize that this seems a bit extreme or overwhelming, but I suggest that you just get into it with a bang. Yes, jump in there with both feet first. Grab the bull by the horns. *Insert other tacky yet ‘inspiring’ sentence here*
But seriously, I wouldn’t worry about writing down in-depth details about each and everything thing that you put in your mouth, but it should document more-or-less what you are consuming in any given day.
You can use whichever method is easiest and most at-your-disposal. Personally, I tried keeping my food journal as a hand-written diary, but that was a mega fail. It might have been the fact that I was also trying to keep track of calories back then (yuck), but I found that it seemed to take a lot more time to write it all down by hand...and if I forgot something, I couldn’t just go back and add it otherwise it would look like a huge mess and would defeat the whole purpose of the exercise.
OCD much? Only sometimes...
So I switched over to a Microsoft Word document that I set up so that I could fill it in every morning on weekdays with what I ate the day before. Sometimes this gets a bit tricky when I don’t track food items over the weekend, but you would be surprised how much detail you can remember when you set your mind to it :)
Personally, I started this experiment in order to track WHAT I was eating, and not necessarily the portions of what I was eating. That is something that I deal with during the day, and continues to be something that I’m working on, but I don’t feel like I would benefit from keeping track of this in a daily food journal – and it would take too much time to record all of my portions!
Depending on what you want to focus on improving, tailor your food journal to correspond with that. For instance, if you want to make sure you are drinking enough water every day (another thing I really try to focus on during the day – I aim to drink 3 bottles of water at work and then a couple of glasses in the morning and at night when I’m at home. Obviously, some days are better than others).
I copy and paste this template for the days of the week (I usually prep it for a full month so I don’t have to do it as often):
And fill it in, like this:
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
· 2 eggs scrambled and 1 piece toast
· Coffee with almond milk
· Cottage cheese with grapes
· Ate this a bit late (around 11:30 – could have just held off for another little while, but I gave in…)
· Kale salad with quinoa and feta, large peach, and whole wheat wrap
· Green tea and 2 timbits (thanks printer…)
· Celery (pre-run)
· Handful of dates and
· 2-3 crackers and cheese, handful of black olives
· BBQ chicken, brown rice, ceasar salad, asparagus
· Strawberries and blueberries with 2 scoops of ice cream
· Too many glasses of vino…
Didn’t do so well. A ‘better’ day would look like this:
Friday, July 19, 2013
· Coffee with almond milk
· 0% Greek yogurt and fruit and maple syrup
· Salad and pear and chocolate
· Fish and salad
· Berries and whipped cream
[Note: I just want to put this out there, I assume that most of you know this, but I just wanted to let you know that I do NOT usually post everything that I eat in a day – the above examples show how many snacks I have, which I don’t always post/remember to photograph before stuffing it in my face. So, please, before making any drastic changes to your daily meals, please see a professional – I am not one, but just a friendly want-to-share-way-too-much-information-about-my-meals-and-fitness in the hopes of inspiring someone to make a change to a more healthy lifestyle :) Okay, rant over now.]
I am a firm believer in keeping a food journal.
The most important thing is to find a way that suits your lifestyle best, and take it from there! If you choose to write it out by hand – maybe keep a little pocket notebook so you can jot everything down during your daily commute – or to keep it on an online spreadsheet like me – we could, like, totally be twinsies! – OR use one of many online resources available to you like www.caloriecounter.com. I don’t personally use a free online resource like this because I find it takes a bit too much time and I don’t like to obsess too much about counting calories. Instead, I like to put my energy towards making healthy choices to integrate whole foods into my diet such as whole grains, fruit, veggies, home-made meals, etc.
I think that keeping a food journal is a good meditative exercise that makes you think back on a day (or two or three) of what you have fed your body. I could pull that ‘your body is a temple’ angle, which is true (confession of a secret hippy right here), but when it comes down to it, you need to fuel your body properly in order to get the results you want:
Which can be a smokin’ hot bod (which is not a very good goal, especially since it is not a quantifiable thing you can achieve...you always want to go a bit farther, amiright?), or the ability to run a half marathon without stopping for walk breaks (that’s mine!), or to lift 120lbs (ya, I’m so far from that, its not even funny)...but you get my drift, right? Right.
This extra step of really thinking, and admitting, what you are eating seems to make a bit of a shift in your diet. I found that I cleaned up a lot, and knew when I was indulging a bit too much *ahem* vino and ice cream night above ;)
If you don’t trust me, listen to the pros: http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20080708/keeping-food-diary-helps-lose-weight
Question to Ponder:
- Have you ever kept a food journal? Why did you start? Why did you stop? Do you think that this would help you become more in-touch with your dietary choices and help with your overall nutrition level? Will you start??