If You Bite It, Write It by Angelina Deering, Fitness Coach
Here at DIWS we promote journaling for many different reasons. Journaling can be good for your mental health, reducing built-up stress and enhancing your creativity, but did you know it could also be a vital component in your physical health?
Throughout the day many people don’t realize how much they are actually eating, sometimes consuming hundreds of calories more than they even realized. Most people “graze” during their hectic schedules without even noticing, often doing so while working, staring at a computer, commuting, cooking dinner, talking on the phone…. you get the point. The thing is, these little bites here and there can really add up. Just think about it: If I eat a cookie in the break room, snack on pretzels while responding to e-mails, “taste” the food I’m cooking for dinner before it even hits my plate or stop at Starbucks for an afternoon pick-me-up, I’m consuming hundreds of extra calories without even considering them as part of my meals.
Well, this is where the food journal comes in and I’m going to give you just a few reasons why they are so important in your weightloss and health journeys:
Accountability: Writing everything down on a daily basis makes you aware of what you’re actually consuming and if it’s good for you. No one wants to write “1 pint of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream” in their fitness journal, but when you do and notice how many calories are in it, you’ll think twice the next time you go to pick up that spoon. Which leads me to my next point…
Makes you think twice: Next time you go to Starbucks and are about to order that triple mocha extra whip venti whatever, you’ll realize that you have to write that down and maybe you’ll be more inclined to order an iced coffee with fat free (or soy, my personal favorite) milk instead. Saving you hundreds of calories!
Helps with portion control: those who write (or log their food in apps such as MyFitnessPal: follow my journey here) have to measure out exactly what they’re eating to be able to accurately assess their intake. Most people tend to use the dish that they are eating the food off of as a form of measurement. For example, “1 medium bowl of pasta”, but when measured with more accurate methods, they realize it’s actually four servings! This also helps you in the future when you are out at a restaurant or friends house and you don’t want to whip out your measuring cups, you’ll eventually be able to eyeball correct portions (and stress a little less).
Ties in connections to stress, emotional eating, time, and location: While writing down your food is essential, also tracking where you ate and what caused you to eat/not eat (it’s not always due to hunger) can be beneficial to losing weight. When I am coaching people on nutrition, this portion of the journal helps identify unhealthy triggers and allows you to prevent these things from happening in the future. For example, going 6 or 7 hours without eating and then gorging the minute you get home. Maybe you got caught up in work and “forgot” to take a lunch break, maybe you didn’t prepare food and were running late for work… whatever the case may be, identifying the factors that are prohibiting you from being healthy, will help you avoid them or plan better in the future.
So here is what I want you to do download your Fit for Thought Journal or grab a notebook, paper, or go on Pinterest for many FREE food tracking printable. For the next two days, I want you to write down everything you’ve eaten…. yes, EVERYTHING. I’m not asking you to change anything just yet. Don’t leave anything out and write down where you were eating, what time, and if there is anything else about the situation that is notable. After those two days, write down 5 ways you can do better in the next few days coming up. Then put those into action, while continuing to write down EVERYTHING. This will make you more aware of your own habits and get you started on the right track to the healthy lifestyle you’ve always wanted to have. Need help? Message us at [email protected]