Thursday, September 8, 2011

Benefits and Challenges of Food Journaling

I haven’t kept a food journal in a long time, but, lately, little licks and bites, handfuls of this and that, have become a bit too frequent, and I feel keeping track of them may be a good way to “get them under control.”

The last time I kept a food journal was when I tried to lose the “baby weight” I had gained when I was pregnant with the toddler. I had gained too much weight (almost 50 pounds) during the pregnancy, and it wasn’t easy to get the last 20 pounds of it off. Writing everything down (with a purple pen in a pretty pink and brown journal) really worked. I actually didn’t calculate the calories, but just seeing everything in purple on white really helped me to be more mindful, and soon I actually didn’t need the journal anymore.

Years earlier, I had used a food journal to lose a serious amount of weight. At that time, I kept track of the actual calories a bit closer, but I found it very difficult to look up the calories in everything I ate, and I ended up eating a lot of packaged foods because it was easiest. I didn’t like that I ate so many processed foods as a result of keeping track of calories. However, keeping track of calories helped me lose a lot of weight.

Back to the present. I don’t have a huge amount of weight to lose, but I think being aware of everything that goes into my mouth for a while will be beneficial. To start off my journal, I decided to keep a photo journal of all my eats for a day. I have never done this before, and I don’t intend to do this very often, at least not on this blog.

So here is everything I ate yesterday:

Breakfast: Oatmeal, plain Greek yogurt with Vanilla NuNatural drops, and walnuts.

Morning Snack: String cheese and almonds.

Lunch: 1/2 quesadilla with salsa and Greek yogurt and tomato/cucumber salad.

Afternoon snack: Frozen banana slices with nut butter and figs.

Dinner: Eggplant casserole and salad with tomatoes, celery, cucumber, avocado, and egg whites.

Keeping track of everything definitely made me more aware! There were a couple things that didn’t make it into my mouth because I stopped and thought if I really needed and wanted to eat them. And I didn’t! I think keeping track a bit longer in one way or another might definitely be beneficial… Also, I realized that I didn’t eat any veggies or fruits until lunch. Plus, I could have probably used a bit more protein as I was quite hungry by dinner time.


Have you ever kept a food journal? Why or why not? 

Have you ever counted calories, points, etc.? I only counted calories for a relatively short period of time. As I stated above, calculating the calories in everything I ate seemed very difficult, especially since I like to cook without recipes and don’t normally measure things, so I didn’t have any recipes I could just enter into a program to calculate the calories. However, keeping track of all the calories I was consuming in a day was eye-opening, and I believe it was very important for me to do so at the time. It’s what helped me lose a lot of weight and really made me aware of calories.

If you count/counted calories, points, etc., how do you keep/kept track of them and how do you like the tool you are using to count calories, etc.? I know a lot of people like DailyPlate, SparkPeople, and similar sites to keep track of calories. And there are also quite a few smart phone apps. When I counted calories about 6 years ago, I kept track of them online, but I don’t remember which site I used.

Have you ever taken photos of everything you ate in a day? This was my first time, and I know I couldn’t do this every day! I really had to concentrate to take a picture every time I reached for food (which also turned out to be a good thing!) While it was fun for a day, I don’t think I’ll do it very often. Plus, I doubt you would want to see my eats very often as I eat the same things a lot… However, I am thinking of creating a new twitter account to tweet my eats once in a while.  That way I won’t overload you with all my food pics…. Since it’s so easy to take a photo and tweet it, and I think it may be just what I need once in a while to keep myself honest…

Be well,