Take Control of Your Diet With Food Journaling

Courtney Rupertus

Do you feel out of control when it comes to food? Eating out of boredom, after a stressful day, or without even really paying attention? Do you struggle with digestive discomfort without knowing the cause?

Keeping a food journal can be an easy way to take back control over your diet in a powerful way. Simply observing and taking note of what you consume, how often you eat, and how big your portions are can help you identify any trigger points you may have and narrow down any foods that you may have an intolerance towards.

Tracking what you eat can be an extremely useful tool for weight loss if that is something you are interested in. Studies show that those who food journal lose about twice as much weight as those who don’t. Food journaling ramps up the accountability factor when it comes to your eating habits.

Very simply, it can help you improve your daily nutrition. For some reason many of us have certain perceptions that we believe, whether they are actually true or not. For example, “I eat a lot of vegetables,” or “I don’t drink very often.” Once you start tracking the real life numbers, it very often paints a very different picture.

The most effective kind of food journal to start is an incredibly detailed one. It may sound like a lot of effort at first, but the insights that you will glean will likely connect many dots when it comes to your relationship with food. From there, you can really target which areas of your diet and nutrition need the most attention and go from there.

Start by keeping track of everything you drink and eat throughout the day, taking note of portion size or number of servings, estimated caloric intake, how you feel physically after eating, as well as what you were doing/feeling emotionally while you were eating, and finally, where you were and if you were alone or with family or friends.

Try not to overanalyze your diet too much in the beginning, as you want to get as accurate a glimpse into your everyday diet as possible. After a few weeks, you will start to notice certain patterns arise. Perhaps, every Friday night you unwind with a glass of wine, which in turn leads to eating more snack food than you wanted. Or maybe at dinners with friends you end up eating double the amount you would typically prepare for yourself.

Being able to pick out and identify these habits or triggers is the first catalyst to making a major dietary change. A good example is trying to break free from a sugar addiction. First off, having to write down that you ate 25 gummy bears is actually really good motivation not to.

Secondly, if you happen to eat a bag of gummy bears one day, instead of beating yourself up about it, you can look back at what you were doing or feeling and identify what may have triggered your desire to eat the candy, and come up with a strategy for coping later on.