Why Keep A Food Diary?
Or as I like to remind myself and my friends that it’s not just a food diary it’s more of a food, energy, mood, and sleep journal.
We are what we eat, ate and will eat. We are also what we think. Eating goes beyond just food. What we eat is a part of a whole system of nourishing our bodies, minds and souls.
There have been several times when it has been imperative for me to keep a food diary. The first time I did it was when I first studied nutrition back in the 1980’s. When I look at it, my diet was pretty shocking, although I thought it was good.
The next time I did it was when I was diagnosed with an overactive thyroid. I very cockily told my doctor that I would reverse it in six weeks. I kept a food diary so that I could track all kinds of things and so that I could see where all the connecting pieces were.
And yes, six weeks later it had reversed and stayed that way ever since.
Fast forward 2018
My spine fractured and I had lots of other complications and over a year I tracked all kinds of things so that I could heal my bones.
I’d be lying if I said I kept the journal for just these things. What I did was when I got to a milestone of healing I eased up and then as something else presented I tracked everything again.
Why keep a food diary?
A food diary (food, energy and mood journal) is pretty much what you would expect. It’s a tool for tracking what you eat and when to help lead you towards success with meeting your goals. They are most commonly used when supporting a weight loss plan.
A food, energy and mood journal additionally helps you to track other important things so that you can begin to understand you, can decide where you want to make changes and start to craft a unique plan for you.
They also awaken you to your mental well-being, emotions, connection with your inner self and help you to notice physical symptoms which come about as a result of your lifestyle.
This last point is essential. You are not just tracking food, because there is so much more to you than the food you consume.
Here are some of the benefits of a food diary:
- Food diaries can help identify intolerances to certain foods. Recording what you’re eating can help pinpoint foods that might be causing not so great symptoms, like bloating or something that might need further investigation
- Tracking your mood can help you reflect on how certain events might trigger changes in your emotions, allowing you to understand your inner processes better
- Tracking your energy can help you find patterns in mood, food and emotions and you may also notice how these affect your sleep
- Tracking your sleep along with everything else helps you to see where the choices you are making are having an effect on your sleep – which will affect many other things
- A food diaries/food, energy and mood journals hold you accountable, which can help keep you on track regardless of what your nutrition goals are. Think about it: you’re much less likely to go off course in your diet or healing plan if you know you’re going to have to write it down
- They can ensure that you’re meeting your nutritional and healing needs while getting a balanced diet. You will be able to spot things when you have a log of what you’ve been doing
Here are some of the benefits of a journal:
- Keeping a journal allows you to identify any not so great habits and support you to break the cycle
- Journals are wonderful for giving you the space to express yourself and enabling you to better cope with your feelings
- They can identify potential triggers that are keeping you from making changes and reaching your goals.
The bottom line is that keeping a food diary or a food, energy and mood journal is a fantastic tool to help you take a closer look at your relationship with what you are eating, your energy and mood. You’ll spot how certain things make you feel and figure out what steps you can take to reach your goals.
Do some detective work
After you’ve completed about a week of your recording your food, energy and mood is when the fun really starts. Once you have done the hard work of compiling all that data – it’s then time to reflect on your week it and decide what steps you need to take next to gain traction towards reaching your goals.
Consider how certain foods might have made you feel, if you are overeating in certain social situations, or if you’re actually eating only when you’re hungry. What about how your moods and energy affect the things that you are craving, and that could be craving beyond food. Are there certain times of day that you snack or miss meals? Think about your energy and sleep and certainly take a look at your other bodily bits, like skin, urine and your bowels.
Using your findings, you’re all set to make some healthy changes and take a step in the right direction. Equipped with the power of your food, energy and mood journal, you have everything you need to reach your goals.
What it all means?
Before long, you will realise that health is multifaceted – if one part of the body system suffers, you’re likely to see consequences in other areas of your life. Everything in this journal that you are monitoring and reflecting on will give you a fantastic kick-start for being the best and healthiest you ever.
Remember Rome wasn’t built in a day and as you make small changes, your life will change too. Keep monitoring and reflecting and simply do what you can.
Remember to ask that all-important question – do I love myself enough to…
I used this question throughout all of my healing. It made me stay on track, because yes, I do love myself enough to do what it takes to attain good health.
To get Mels free food and mood journal – head to www.wakemannutrition.com
101 days of being me
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