You may have heard about using food journals to stem overeating, or to lose weight. It's not a strategy that's reserved for people struggling with food addiction. By keeping an accurate log of what you consume, you'll be able to gain insight into your eating habits, lifestyle habits, and emotional/mental health. You may find you aren't really eating all the junk food you thought you were, or that skipping a daily cup of coffee gives you killer headaches when it's gone.
As the name describes, a food journal is a log or journal of what you eat and drink during a specified period. What should you journal? If you eat it or drink it, log it. Everything. You will find, over time that a story is unfolding.
How Does Keeping a Food Journal Help
What you eat and drink can have a huge impact on your health. By keeping a detailed food journal or log (documenting the story), you'll be able to keep an eye on what you're doing well and where there's room for improvement. You'll see that eating dairy messes with your gut and causes cramping. Or, drinking a glass of wine before bed messes with your sleep. Newton’s Law says that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Let’s think about that in terms of what we eat/drink.
Do you work in an office where donuts are sitting out waving at you beckoning you to just take one bite? Are you forgetting to drink water as the stress of your day bum rushes you? What about your sleep? How many hours did you get the last 3 nights? Do you eat regularly? Skip breakfast and have your first meal of the day at 2 p.m.? What had you eaten or sipped when you felt crappy two weeks ago? These are the questions, the story lines, that need to be uncovered.
Keeping a food journal doesn't have to be a complicated process. Many people start with good intentions and lose motivation shortly after starting their journal. The K.I.S.S. method is the best way to go. So, let’s go!
Building Your Story
A food journal is the simplest tool for gathering information to improve your diet and wellbeing. But, not all food journals are created equal. The FoodMoods Journal was specifically created to help you discover how what you are eating impacts your mood and health. It’s a little different from other food journals. The goal isn’t calorie, weight, or macro/micro intake. But let’s be clear, those things can be important. However, making the connections between food and mood is the goal. Plain and simple. K.I.S.S., right?
For each of the ninety days logged, there is a daily log to track your meals, including snacks. Water intake, hours of sleep, energy level, physical activity, and overall feelings are tracked as well. At the end of each 7-day period, the Weekly Reflections page provides a habit tracker, medication/supplement section, and space to write any additional information important to your story. There is also a lined Notes section because often, as we walk toward a goal, dormant feelings, ideas, or random thoughts surface. Writing them down is important and will be interesting to reflect on once you reach a milestone.
Food Journal for Health Conditions
Whether you are dealing with IBS, GERD, diabetes, weight gain, or allergies, maintaining a food journal that connects the food to your mood and physical response can start you on your way to feeling better. Your body has been sending distress signals.
I believe that the foundation to good health and wellness is eating a whole-food, plant-based diet. Minimally processed and the right types of food for YOUR body. Real food. A whole food, plant-based diet is what I advise my clients to prioritize as they transition their diets and seek to improve their wellbeing. But don’t stress yourself by trying to do all the things at once. Just remember that food is what nourishes our bodies, but “food” can also make us sick. Eating the wrong foods, or non-foods, can lead you down a road of bad health and poor immune function. If you aren't eating the right foods, then your body will be in a constant state of inflammation. Here is where keeping a food journal helps to identify our tendency to eat a certain something when stressed or anxious. And how doing so makes us feel sluggish and agitated.
Your FoodMood story documented in your food journal will provide you with the detailed facts of what your body is trying to tell you. This information should be shared with your health care provider(s).
The influence food has on your mood and physical wellness is quietly hidden until you begin tracking what you eat, documenting the story. Many people can find relief from symptoms of an undiagnosed disorder or illness by simply tracking what their body is telling them.
Write your story, make the connections, and get to healing!
FoodMoods: 90 Day Food & Mood Journal can be found on Amazon.