When beginning a weight loss and fitness journey, there are many different tips, tricks and pricey equipment at your fingertips. One great tool that has little to no cost is keeping a food journal. Just like there is no one right exercise or diet for every person, food journaling may or not be for you. One should never be used to police or restrict your food intake, but it can be very beneficial in the early stages of your journey to develop mindful and intuitive eating habits.
The Pros of Food Journaling
Keeping a food journal is an excellent way to see what your current eating habits are. By confronting your behaviors, you will be able to define your problem areas and make changes. This awareness can also help you connect to the physical feelings of hunger and of fullness.
Environmental stressors can play an important part in food choices. Having a record of these physical triggers in a food journal can help you make better food choices. Noting what physical or emotional state you were in when you made unhealthy food choices can help you notice a pattern, which can help you make better choices in stressful situations. You can also notice the environments that help you make better nutritional choices.
Keeping a food journal provides an accurate database of your eating habits. As you look back over your meals and snacks, you are able to see which foods made you feel good and which food made you feel bad. Having this data helps you make an informed decision about future meals, thus developing better nutritional habits.
The Cons of Food Journaling
Some people associate feelings of shame, guilt and obsession when keeping a food journal. It can make you feel that you have to be overly strict with what you eat, which can lead you to always being preoccupied with what food you’re going to eat.
There can be added stress in keeping a food journal that can lead people to withdraw from social life simply because they cannot account for each ingredient in a recipe. This leads them to feel that they cannot journal correctly. This stress becomes overwhelming for some.
Although food journaling can be a short-term activity to help you detect bad eating habits and make better ones, it can be tedious, challenging and daunting. Fitting this into an already busy life can be an added stressor.
Food journaling is not for everyone. Deciding to do this is a personal choice that only you can make. If you are having trouble deciding whether to keep a food journal, talk with your doctor, a dietician or a therapist. They will be able to help you sort through the pros and cons of food journaling to decide if it is right for you.