Are you or your clients struggling to lose weight or simply want to keep an eye on what your food intake looks like? You may have tried keeping a food journal to focus attention on calorie intake or food selections.
Focusing on food intake in a journal as a therapeutic strategy to understand habits and patterns is a great supplement to traditional therapy techniques. Additionally, keeping a food diary for weight loss has been researched and found to yield positive results.
Let’s look at some ways to make the most of your food journal.
Goals: Decide what your goal will be. Are you hoping to lose weight, eat healthier or keep track of calories? On the first page of your journal write your goal.
Awareness: Know that keeping track of your food will build a greater awareness of your intake habits. At the end of each day, record an awareness statement, expressing what you noticed that day.
Types of Foods: Food journals are a great way to notice the types of foods that you gravitate towards. Are you eating more carbs, junk food, too much protein, etc?
Before and After: Make a point of recording what you were doing before and after you had a meal. This is a great way to find triggers that may have been overlooked before you started your journal.
Feelings: What did you feel both before and after eating? One important question to ask is, “Was I really hungry?” or “Was I feeling something else?” If you did not actually feel hungry, what made you reach for food?
Patterns: When we watch ourselves and ask the right questions, it is possible to uncover patterns in our behaviors. Ask yourself what patterns you see emerge as you review your journal entries.
Changes: As you examine all your entries, look for patterns and triggers. You may find that there are simple changes you can make each day that will eventually lead to major changes in your behaviors, and your weight.
Prayer: As Christian believers, we know that praying at the beginning of the day and asking God to keep us focused on our goals is paramount to success. Your prayer need not be fancy. Try something like this to set the tone for your day: Lord, give me the strength and the discipline to meet the goals I’ve set for myself with my eating habits. I know with you by my side, I can do all things! Amen.
If you’ve kept a food journal in the past or are in the middle of one right now, we’d love to learn about what is working for you and what has changed in your eating habits or your weight. If you decide to start a food journal now, give these tips a try! In any case, we want to hear from you!