Last week I revisited an old habit. I dusted off a notebook from my closet to keep a food log. I maintained a food diary fairly religiously with the details of my meals, beverage intake and weight for quite a while. It was back in the day where I had a very different relationship with both the number on the scale, and the foods I was eating. Namely I was a little too focused on the number of calories I was consuming, and avoiding carbs. After growing up on “low fat living” suddenly carbs were the new enemy. Sometimes I feel like the changes in what is deemed “good for us” can make our heads spin. At least it does for me. Back in those days, a bad reading on the scale could ruin my day. It was a totally unhealthy attachment to weighing myself. Plus, combined with all the daily diary entries it was beginning to feel totally neurotic. I am a bit of an all or nothing type person so I abandoned both altogether for quite a while.
Keeping a Food Diary
Nowadays I weight myself about once a week just to see if I am on track. The food log comes out to play when I feel a need. A food diary is a wonderful tool to understanding a lot about what we eat. If you are trying to lose weight I thoroughly recommend it for some insight. If you see something that maybe is not helping you get towards your goals you may have consider cutting it out or limiting it in your life. This is certainly not the end of the world. A lot of times it could be something you do not even really like! Maybe you are just eating it because you think you should. Is it worth not feeling good? Probably not.
My recent food diary was because I was not feeling totally awesome. My stomach was “off” and I decided to keep a food log for a few days just to determine if there was any kind of pattern. Food diaries allow you to see things that you might not normally. Unless I take a food picture for Instagram – I do not even necessarily remember what I ate a few days ago.
My pattern was two items I had been eating in small amounts (a few times a week) had become regular items. I have an abnormal affection for Greek Yogurt. I could eat it at least twice a day, and then have some cheese as a bonus too. You would think after years of eating Greek Yogurt or Cottage Cheese as a pre-workout snack and then suffering with stomach pains on the Elliptical may have taught me something. Ha…not the case. The other is wheat. I was having bread and Greek yogurt daily and my body was not at all pleased with me. I was also eating more processed foods like bars or Grass-fed beef jerky because they were easy snacks to eat on the go.
The lesson I want to share is that we often have to look a little more closely to see what is good or bad for us. There are common sources that can trigger symptoms in many of us that have nothing to do with healthy foods or even following a plan of what we should or should not be eating. They can range from wheat, grains, sugar, dairy, corn, soy or legumes. The bottom line is that a food diary keeps us honest. If we have to write everything down, and review it, then we have to consider if we want to eat it in the first place.
If you struggle with any health symptoms, weight loss or lack of energy I would definitely try a food diary and see if you can be your own detective. Cut out a food that might be the culprit for a little bit and bring it back into the mix after a little break. This is the method many experts use as part of their elimination diet plans.
There are also a lot of online tracking options out there like My Fitness Pal which you can use on your phone. Or you can be old fashioned like me and dust off a notebook. 🙂
Have you ever kept a food diary?
How often do you weigh yourself – if at all?
I always love hearing from you! If you have any questions please feel free to send me an email.