Start A Food Journal
I’d kept a journal on and off since I was a kid, but only when I started bodybuilding and was on a mission to lose weight did I start a food journal. If you’ve read my book “She’s Losing It!” you know that the food journal was the bane of my existence. I hated that thing.
Yet I make all my weight loss clients keep one when they are getting started. Why?
Reasons to Keep A Food Journal
For one reason, it makes you more mindful of what you put in your mouth so you’re not grazing all day long. For another reason, it’s great at helping you identify potential problems. You may note that you skip breakfast and lunch and don’t start your first meal until 2 p.m., at which point you’re starving and eat five candy bars from the vending machine and order a huge hoagie. You may also notice for the first time that you’re drinking a lot of Starbucks and your drink of choice is 540 calories. That’s good information to have if you want to make progress.
The first week I kept a food journal I realized that I was eating 2,200 calories! It didn’t seem like it, because I wasn’t eating anything “fun” or “bad” like cupcakes or McDonalds, but I was eating my frozen diet dinners (which tasted awful) followed by all my kids’ leftover hot dogs, graham crackers, Goldfish and milk that they didn’t eat and I didn’t want to throw away because that would have been wasteful. I also discovered that not all vegetables are created equal. Seriously, check out the calorie count for 1 cup of sweet peas versus green beans (118 calories vs. 31 calories). Who knew? Well, now I knew (and so do you!)
You may notice that your eating is tied to emotions. That’s my big battle, even today. Whenever I feel sad I tend to eat chocolate. When I’m angry I gravitate towards something salty and crunchy, like chips. Some people “need” a glass of wine after a hard day. Hey, everyone has a hard day now and then, but if you notice that every single evening is hard maybe food isn’t your real issue; maybe you’re really hungry for something else, like a better job or more supportive relationships in your life. It can be helpful to realize that food is not a friend to comfort or distract you, food is fuel for your body.
What Do You Write In A Food Journal?
My journal entries always include the date, my weight that morning, what I eat and the time of day I eat it. Sometimes I make little notes like “feeling tired” or mention some deadline I’m working on to see if and how those impacted my food choices. You can go old school with a notebook or use one of the many nifty apps available.
I’ve had some clients write it out neatly in cursive in a pretty leather-bound book and others send me entire spreadsheets with their body fat calculations and graphs showing the increase of protein levels in their diet. My advice – go with what works best for your life and do something that you can maintain consistently.
If you are attending my food seminar – The Bikini Diet – next week, please keep a food journal this week and bring it with you so we can go through it together. Don’t feel like you need to eat differently or apologize for what you’re eating (that happens a lot); this first week of journal keeping is just for you to see what you’re putting in your body.
If you are local to Austin and would like to attend the seminar (I think there’s just a few spaces left), click on this link, reply “going” and message me your email so I can send you the invoice for the tickets, which are $30. At the seminar we’ll go over food related things that I learned during my years of competitive bikini training distilled down into bite-sized info that make up my SLI Method (TM). As an added bonus, you’ll also get a Thirty-one thermal to help you carry all your healthy food and snacks with you when you’re on the go.
Make this your year to get healthy.
Lisa Traugott is a Mom’s Choice Award winning writer, published author, fitness blogger, wife and mom of two….and Original Cast Member of AMERICAN GRIT, starring John Cena, on FOX!
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