Benefits of Keeping a Food Journal
|May 20, 2010||Posted by healthsmartmom under Diet and Exercise|
As you go through the day, you eat many things. It’s almost impossible to remember them all, at least not accurately. Just as it’s important to track your spending when trying to improve your finances, it’s important to track your eating when trying to improve your health. A food journal is the best way to keep track of what you are putting in your mouth.
Before you say a word, yes, I know that it is difficult to get used to at first. As a matter of fact, the number one complaint in keeping a food journal is that it is too much work for a busy schedule or that it makes you think more about food. However, anything worth doing will take some effort to become a habit that you don’t have to think about.
But there are many benefits to keeping a food journal, which make it all worth it. First of all, keeping a food journal is going to help you accomplish your goals, whether your goal is to lose weight or to manage your health.
Here are some other benefits of keeping a food journal:
- You know what you eat or don’t eat. Many people skip breakfast. With a food journal, you can see what skipping breakfast does to your eating habits throughout the rest of the day. You may be eating more high calorie or high fat foods to compensate for a lack of energy.
- You can discern emotional issues. Some people eat more when they get emotional. No one wants to admit that they are emotional eaters, but keeping a food journal may bear out that you are one. Once you know, you can get help to overcome it and learn to deal with any issues in a more constructive way.
- You can make changes in your diet that stick. With a food journal, you can take what you are currently eating and make substitutions that are better for your health. For instance, if you eat a lot of pasta, switching to whole wheat pasta and lowering your portion size can lower your cholesterol and your weight. You can change one thing at a time and evaluate how well it is working for you.
- You can see what nutrients you are lacking. Sometimes it is not how much you eat but what types of foods you are eating. You can be thin and still have an unhealthy body. If your food journal shows a lack of green vegetables, you are probably missing out on several nutrients like Vitamin E, zinc, folic acid, B vitamins, magnesium, iron and others that your body needs to function properly. Lack of certain vitamins and minerals can cause hair to fall out or skin to look pale.
Start out by keeping a food journal for just one week. All it takes is a small spiral notebook that will fit easily in your purse and a pen. In just seven days you can find out a lot about your typical eating habits. With that information, you can make changes in your diet that will help you to lose weight, get healthy and reduce your risk of certain diseases.