One of the first things I started doing when I turned around my lifestyle and embarked on my body change journey was to log my food. I’m an old fashioned person, so I kept a log in pen and paper (I still have those logs in a box up at my Dad’s house). Boy, did those logs provide an eye opener! They forced me to get REAL and face the truth in my eating - both my choices, and the habits and behaviors that led me to them. So when I start working with new clients who want fat loss and body change or any health improvement, i ask them to log their food. Here are my top five reasons to keep a food log:
A true visual and raw honesty of what you’re putting into your body. - You can’t cheat yourself out of what is real and true and having to write down what it is you’re eating forces you to see firsthand what is going on. When a client is not seeing results, but they aren’t actually logging their food but just recalling what they ate and when there’s a TON of room for error and it makes my job hard to do. You can’t fix what you don’t know is the problem.
Awareness and mindfulness - seeing firsthand what you ate can provide loads of clarity and understanding. Do you backload your calories? Is there a certain time of day you eat more or make poor quality choices? Is something triggering you to eat? Patterns and habits are hard to really see until you have a way to track and recollect them.
Ownership - having to put everything into writing that you see with your very own eyes allowed you to take ownership and be empowered. I recall how hard it was to write down some of the quantity of food or less nutritious foods I would eat at the i start of my journey, and this itself pushed me to take initiative of making different choices.
Feedback - I hated counting calories or tracking macros as these numbers would cause me anxiety and then I’d become distracted from paying attention to my hunger and appetite. If I felt like I had eaten ‘too much’ or if those numbers reached their limits too early in the day for me I’d get anxious and end up throwing in the towel because I messed up and eat whatever I felt like eating thereafter. But tracking what I ate, about how much, where, and when as it came by (in the moment) and then simply moving on with my day instead of checking to ensure my numbers were on track allowed me to make wiser choices in the moment. I would then check my logs at the end of the day or end of the week. Identifying patterns and areas i could improve on and what i could do or have to improve a little. Then I’d apply those one or two adjustments and apply them to the next day/week via prep and planning. (The prep and planning is for another blog)
Education - you learn a lot about yourself, health, nutrition, and mindfulness through your own experiences. When I got stuck or wasn’t sure what to do next, I’d do some research (or you can use your coach or another professional’s expertise) then do some personal trial and error through putting things into practice for periods of time so I could assess and determine how it affected me.
The coolest part if logging my food is i get to see my own patterns, habits, and choices, I get to figure it out through curiosity and trial and error, and in turn either grow through seeing positive results or grow through learning what didn’t work. IMO the best part of a body change, fat loss, or health journey is all the unknown that there is and learning and experiences to be had! Try it for yourself and let me know how it goes!