If you are struggling to lose weight or if you believe you have an unhealthy relationship with food, it may be beneficial to keep a food journal. Studies show that people who maintain a food journal may lose twice as much weight as those who do not record their daily intake. Keeping a food journal also provides accountability.
A food journal serves as an important tool, it not only shows you what you are eating but it can also depict why you are eating. By jotting down, everything you eat, you will be able to get a clear picture of exactly what you are eating, when you are eating it and why you are eating it. Keeping a food journal is also helpful to stave off binge eating or unconscious snacking. If you know you are going to have to record in your journal the fact that you ate a donut, you may be less likely to actually eat it. Keeping a food journal can help you choose foods based on whether you are actually physically hungry versus emotionally eating.
These are some items you may want to record in your food journal:
What – this would include the food item and how much. Try to be as specific as you can.
When – notate the time that the meal took place. It may also be helpful to note what you were doing at the time; were you watching TV, talking on the phone or enjoying the meal quietly.
Where – the location you ate can be helpful in determining your eating habits. Jot down if you ate in your car, at the dinner table, or standing over the kitchen sink. You may also want to note if you were alone or ate with someone.
Mood – writing down how you felt while eating your meal may be the link in helping to determine whether you are eating for satiety or if the meal was triggered by an emotion.
Have you ever kept a food journal? Did you uncover anything in your eating habits? Were you surprised by anything?