I had heard of keeping a food journal but had never given it much consideration. Except for a two-week stint with a personal trainer(who forced me to) and I hated the process. I have to confess that my initial intentions were not to lose weight. Rather I was fed up of having stomach problems, and I thought a journal might help me get to the root of the cause. It worked, and now it’s become a valuable tool in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
My first and rather short attempt at a food journal left me feeling guilty. Quite honestly I hated the whole experience. Feeling guilty for eating is ridiculous, we all need to eat. And hating yourself for what you eat is an easy way to hate your body and your life! So you ate a cookie(or a whole box!) Feeling guilty for it isn’t going to mean you didn’t eat the cookie, but it does bring unnecessary negative feelings. So, the best thing I did, was banish the guilt!
Step 1. Buy a journal.
If you’re a writer like me, you may be familiar with journaling. I personally always buy fun and colorful journals. But really a pen and some scrap paper will do. Make a note on your phone or keep a list on your laptop. There are apps that also allow you to track what you eat. I use the old standard of a journal and a pen and paper, but use whatever works for you. The important part is to get writing.
Step 2. Get Writing
I write in the evening, and the hardest part is, to be honest with myself. I would love to skip the days I went out for nachos with the girls or ate a whole box of cookies by myself. But the good comes with the bad, and the most important thing is honesty. Plus once you get used to Step 3, you’ll feel a lot better about the days that don’t go so well.
Step 3. Banish the Guilt
This is the hardest step. We’ve been taught that we need to eat less, or feel guilty for indulging.
It’s hard to realize that we should be enjoying our food. That dinner time should not be associated with guilt or feelings of regret. This was an important part for me to begin loving my body at any size. As someone who’s gone years of trying to eat less, and feeling guilty for eating too much. Sure, it worked and I lost weight. But I wasn’t happy and I often could not maintain the weight loss. Choosing to banish guilt and have a loving relationship with food was the most freeing feeling.
Step 4. Write how the food made you feel. 🙂
I do this simply by writing smile faces for food that made me feel good and frowning faces for food that made me feel bad. It was the first time I started paying attention to how food made me feel, and I was amazed. Not only did I see a huge difference in the difference between eating clean and fresh food, but I began craving it over the junk food which made me feel gross. For the first time, I started craving healthy food with no gimmicks or tricks. I was eating clean simply because I wanted to.
Optional: Step 5. Write something you’re grateful for.
I began this step months after I started my food journal. Every night I try to write something I’m thankful for or a positive thing that happened that day. It helps put me in a good mood before I fall asleep, and I wake up happier because of it.
Keeping a food journal has worked for me, and I hope you can find some of the tricks I use helpful. Well, there are some nights I forget or am not able to write, I always get back to journaling as soon as I can. I started this blog because I had successfully dieted and exercised to lose weight. Well, it worked, I wasn’t happy and always found my weight yoyoing because of it. Now, I focus on creating a lifestyle I love and a positive relationship with the food I eat. Well, it has helped me loose weight, more importantly, it helped me develop a great relationship with my body and a happier life.