The very first activity I ask all my clients to do—yes, before hitting the gym or the farmer's market—is start a food diary. I like to understand someone’s eating patterns, likes and dislikes before making any suggestions, but I actually find journaling to be even more helpful and eye opening as a personal exercise.
The best way to change behavior is to pay attention to your actions. Studies show that self-monitoring (like food journaling) consistently leads to weight loss and more sustainable lifestyle alternations. Just writing down what you eat gives you more discipline and makes you more mindful and aware of your food choices, which leads to results.
When keeping a food diary, it’s important not to shame any of your choices, but instead interpret and learn from them. Did you do deep dive for the bread basket at dinner because you hadn’t eaten anything since lunch? Do you tend to crave sugar all day when you have oatmeal for breakfast? Do you eat more when you take a 6am spin class or have a bad night sleep? None of these things are “bad”. It’s actually really good to take note of where your food choices are not serving you and find productive ways to improve them without having to sacrifice too much of your lifestyle.
Often what we eat is less important than why or how. If we can better understand the nuances behind what drives what we eat, we can start creating more sustainable habits the promote healthier foods that support our wellness goals.
How to start? You can get an app, take notes on your phone, or keep an old school journal. Here is the template that I use with my clients. Try it for a week and get your friends and family on board. Sharing your food diaries also helps keep you accountable. Feel free to share/tag me on Instagram (@the_rasa_life) if you want any feedback or have questions.
FOOD DIARY TEMPLATE
How do you feel today?
What is one thing that went well?
How did you sleep last night?
Photo credit: Diana Davis Creative