The Value of a Food Diary
For many of us, the decision to live vibrantly includes a food-related component. When we begin to take charge of our lives and to seek success, we realize just how important this vehicle we call our body is to our overall ability to accomplish our goals. Fatigue, brain fog, inflammation and chronic pain slow us down. These are all indicators that we’re not giving our body the proper fuel, and that it is time to eat (and move) more consciously…to joyfully nourish our bodies, clear our minds, and calm our spirits with each bite.
One of my favorite tools for this job is a food diary. Keeping a food diary is easy, especially if you’re already spending a few minutes each day journaling as part of your morning R.E.V Up. A food diary will help you keep track of what you’re putting into your body, how much, and how far you’ve come. When ever I’m cleansing or resetting from a vacation or holiday where I’ve overdone it for a few days, I keep a food journal right on the counter next to the refrigerator. After I eat breakfast, I jot what I’ve eaten, how much, and the calories and sugars. Through the day I just keep a quick list in my phone until I get home to add it to the journal. This really ony takes about 30 seconds two or three times a day. I have been amazed at how easy it is to snack unconsciously when I’m not keeping my journal.
So, what are you going to record in your food diary? The first week, you should include three things:
A detailed list of everything you put in your mouth. Everything. Even the crust of your kid’s pb&j. Make note of approximate calories and sugar grams (try to stay around 24 grams of sugar per day to feel your best and avoid triggering inflammation responses in your body)
A few quick notes about what comes out of your body. Note how your digestion is affected by your food choices. We don’t like to talk about it much, but our output can offer valuable information about whether we’re sufficiently hydrated and which foods our body naturally prefers.
A record of your deliberate exercise. Walking the dog, taking a hike with a friend, or a timed jog on the treadmill all count. Walking from the car to Starbucks doesn’t, unless it is part of an overall daily step count, and you are mindfully accomplishing a certain step goal each day. A fitbit challenge with a friend is a great motivator and can be set up in easily in the app.
At the end of the first week, make a note about one small improvement you can make in the coming week. Maybe would like to substitute a serving of fruit for that bagel, cut out the evening bowl of ice cream, or replace your morning coffee with green tea. Terrific! Commit to just that one change for the week.
Then, as you head into your next week, begin the process again. At the end of the week, make another small change. Keep going each week with small incremental changes that improve your overall wellbeing. If you falter at a meal, for a whole day, or a week, don’t give up! Let it go and begin again. The stress and guilt you feel when you beat yourself up for a misstep is often worse for you than the misstep itself. It’s all about small steps in the right direction.
Challenge yourself to keep a food journal for one month. 30 days is the time it takes to create a habit. Most of my clients are shocked at the lack of awareness they had for what, when, and how much they were eating before beginning their food journals. It’s just about teaching yourself to consume more mindfully.
Do you need help managing your health and wellness or achieving any other goal? Email me and let’s talk about how one-on-one coaching can help you live vibrantly today.