Journal Your Way to Fitness

Keeping a food journal is a powerful tool! 

Most people are unaware of their food habits.  We just don’t realize the amount of unhealthy, high-calorie foods we eat.  We don’t realize how many snacks and drinks we consume.  We eat when we’re hungry, tired, bored, or on auto-pilot.

Many people don’t want to keep a food journal because it might be too much work or they just don’t want to see how much they eat.  A journal will reveal when and why we eat and also give us a chance to realize that we have better choices.   Maybe we eat too many foods high in fats or maybe we don’t eat enough vegetables.  A Food Journal will let us really see what we’re doing.  Maybe we get hungry in the mid-afternoon when there is no meal available, so we snack on whatever we can get.  A Food Journal will let us know so that we can bring a healthy, low-calorie snack. 

 Let’s get started!  All you need is a notebook and a pen. 

Set up your pages as shown in the illustration. 

  • Day/Date – the day of the week is just as important as the date.  We often have different jobs and stressors on different days.
  • Time of Day – You can use actual time (1:00, 2:30, 8:15) or approximate time (early morning, before work, late night), but actual time works best.
  • Food & Drink – Include everything!  20 oz. diet or regular drink, coffee with sugar and creamer, broccoli with cheese sauce, loaded burger, grilled chicken, etc.
  • Where you ate or drank – In the car, standing at the counter, at the table, in front of the TV, etc.
  • Why you ate – Were you really hungry?  Or, were you tired or bored?  Maybe it was time to eat or you were being social.
  • How did you feel? – Were you satisfied, stuffed, tired, or still hungry?  Did it meet your emotional needs?  Sometimes we need something crunchy or sweet, hot or cold, or a comfort food to meet emotional needs. 
  • Calories – You may find that there are just too many calories or that the amount of calories from fats and carbs are too high.  Knowing where the calories are gives you the ability to exchange those items for lower calorie, lower fat alternatives.  There are many free calorie counters available online and calorie apps for ipads and phones.

 The most important thing is that the journal works for you.  Write everything down as soon as you eat and drink (or as soon as you can).  You don’t want to rely on your memory.  Review your journal at the end of each day and at the end of each week.  You’ll see patterns that you can change.

Day/Date

Food/Drink

Where, When & Why

Feelings

Calories

  Be honest!  It’s a journal, not a newsletter.  No one has to see it but you!

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