Stop Lying to Yourself! Keep a Food Journal

Posted by Erin Aquin on Aug 19, 2013 6:00:00 AM
Food JournalWhen I work one on one with clients  in my Chinese Medicine practice, something we always talk about is nutrition.  I ask clients a lot of questions about food, how they eat and what they eat and we try to get as specific as possible. Many people come in into my clinic telling me that they eat very well, but often with a bit of probing we find out together that things could be better.

It is very interesting how many of us are disconnected to what we eat as well as the quality and relationship we have with that food.  The most effective way I have found to investigate the diet is by a  keeping a food journal.  If you have never done this before, I highly suggest you try it, it takes less than 10 min a day,  but the potential rewards are huge.

How to keep a simple food journal

    • Find a method of record keeping that is handy and works with your lifestyle (pen and paper, email yourself, keep a note in your phone).

    • Write down what you eat and when you eat it and how you feel before, during and after.  This doesn’t have to be more than a few words per entry, if you are spending more than 2 min per entry you are doing too much.

    • The most important thing is to be completely honest about what you are eating and how you actually feel. Don’t think about it too much, just write it down.

Assessment
At the end of the 3-5 days we start to assess the information.  Most people are shocked to find (even before I go through the food journal with them) that they are eating more processed food and sugar than they believed they were!

However, it is good to keep in mind that food journaling isn’t an exercise to make you feel ashamed of what you eat, it is simply to illuminate what you eat and how you feel as a result so you can start to see the connection we have to what we put into our body.

With this valuable and honest material you can begin to shift your habits.  Do you wait too long after waking up to eat breakfast or find yourself rushed in the morning?  This could be fixed simply by learning a few 5-minute breakfast recipes. You could also use a crock pot with a timer to set up your oatmeal or cooked millet the night beforehand.  Nothing like a nice warm meal that you can enjoy without much effort!

There are so many ways you can be creative, but first you have to collect the information to know how things are going. If you are doing this without the guidance of a health care practitioner and see clearly there are big changes to be made, find a qualified practitioner with a good reputation who really knows about and cares about nutrition.

So give food journaling a try and while you are at it, you can also take the 3 Question Nutritional Assessment which will offer a general idea of how things are going in this realm of your life.

Feel free to share what you found in the comments!

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