A food journal is simply a way to keep track of everything you consume. This would include everything you eat during meals, snacks, drinks, and everything else. You also track the portion size within the journal. There are a number of mobile apps available to help you with this, or you can do it with pen and paper. Either way, these journals have a multitude of incredible benefits. Here are 8 of the most common benefits to keeping a food journal.
Weight Loss – Those who use a food journal generally find better success in losing weight. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise – keeping a journal keeps a firm record of every calorie eaten while also helping to find unhealthy trends (like night-time binge eating, mid-day snacking, etc.). This then allows you to work on portion control, healthy eating habits and eliminating empty calories.
Food Allergy/Intolerance Detection – Perhaps the most common reason to start a food journal is to track allergies and intolerances. By finding a link between eating certain foods and having symptoms of an allergy or intolerance, you can find out what is really causing you issues and begin to eliminate those foods. Symptoms of allergies and intolerances vary but commonly include extreme bloating, stomach cramps, diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, and acid reflux. So if you suffer from any of these, a food journal can help find your triggers so you can eliminate them.
Cut Down on Snacking – It’s very easy to eat a few cookies out of the pantry. But if you’re doing it every day, multiple times a day, you can be creating a very unhealthy habit. Especially if you are doing this when you aren’t even hungry. By keeping a journal, you will find these patterns and also really keep track of how many times a day you snack for no reason. Then, when you see how many empty calories that are, you just might have the motivation you need to stop.
Better Nutrition – The more you focus on your diet, the easier it is to improve it. Once you start tracking the frequency of “treats,” how often you go for a second helping when you’re full, or how infrequently you finish your veggies, it becomes clearer how to fix your health. We often don’t realize how poor our nutrition is until we examine what we actually eat on a daily basis.
Better Eating Habits – Whether it’s late night snacking, over-indulging at breakfast, or constantly noshing throughout the day, we all have areas we can improve in our daily eating habits. By keeping a food journal, you have the ability to track those bad habits and improve upon them.
Create a Record – A food journal is a permanent record of everything you have consumed. This will help you track progress toward goals, act as a reminder of what you actually ate yesterday, and help in a number of other ways. But anything you want to improve with your diet will be easier with a physical record of your meals.
Understand When (and Why) you Overeat – Some people overeat when they’re stressed out, others when they’re bored, and still others when they’re sad. No Matter what triggers you to binge eat, tracking your eating habits will help you to discern that trigger. Then, you can try to limit the impact of those triggers.
Find More Serious Stomach Problems – A food journal is an important piece in diagnosing many serious stomach issues. Tracking what you eat, when you eat, and how it impacts your health is an important piece for a doctor trying to diagnose you. If you seem to have severe stomach issues, tracking them through a food journal can be a great first step to finding out what is wrong.
Food journals can seem like a difficult task or a tedious chore, however, once you’ve done it for a few days you’ll find it has virtually no impact on your time, yet it will yield incredible benefits in the long run.