The long-lasting benefits of a Food Journal.
Implementing a food journal is essential when trying to change or manage eating habits. This form of journal is a detailed list of food consumed throughout the day and should be completed for weeks or even months. For bonus points, the journal will also list how you felt when eating (bored, tired, stressed or hungry) and when you ate (late at night or through the afternoon).
Each time we work with a client who wants to improve their nutritional habits, we will always recommend they start a journal. It should be the first thing they do before as a priority before making changes.
Why exactly is a food journal so beneficial? Well, with a journal we can reflect on exactly what we ate, when and the emotions associated. This sort of information is essential for creating long-term change.
Here are some reasons you should start a food journal:
It’s easy to remember exactly what you ate and when. Sometimes, we might try to forget binges or emotional eating outbursts. With the potential guilt associated with bingeing, the last thing we want to do is document it, that would make it real! By documenting all binges, we can start to recognise these patterns and tackle the deeper reasons why you might be bingeing or or emotionally eating.
You can learn certain eating patterns. After a few weeks of journalling, you will start to notice some patterns. Do you reach for the junk food after 9pm, or continue to overeat on Sunday? If these habits don’t align with your goals, a journal will help to recognise these patterns and from there we can implement strategies for positive change.
You can review any shortcomings in your daily diet. On review of your food journal you may be low on protein, or potentially over-eating carbohydrates. Again, we can review this consumption in line with your nutritional goals and make changes accordingly.
You can determine any potential malnourishment. Perhaps you are eating the exact same fruit and veg weeks on end. If this is the case, you might be low on certain vitamins or minerals. On the other hand, if you are always reporting to be tired, you can review your journal and understand that you may be under-eating, or perhaps you need more iron in your diet.
So, with all of these benefits in mind, how exactly can you start?
- List foods in a diary as soon as you can.
- Write down where you’re eating.
- Think about and document exactly how you’re feeling or what you’re doing.
- Note whether you have missed or skipped a meal and why.
- Use your food log as a library that can be reflected on over the weeks.
- Be honest, nobody needs to see this journal but you.
With all of these benefits in mind, do you see yourself starting a food journal? At Bloom Allied Health, we will always implement a journal with our clients before making any nutritional changes. We continue to see long-term benefits to journalling, helping clients really understand exactly what they are eating and why.