By Lauren Denos: 4/6/2015 (Nutrition)

How much are you really eating? Do you know? It is very easy for us to overeat without realizing it. So many of our foods now-a-days are so calorie dense and sweet that not only are we getting more calories than we think, but we are also so addicted to the extreme flavors of salty and sweet foods that many times we do not feel like we are getting enough. Journaling will let you know exactly how much you are really eating, but it does so much more.

Journaling will help you realize what you are really eating and how often. Many people think that they are only eating an unhealthy snack or meal once a week when, in reality, they are having a ton of small unhealthy snacks throughout the week. These add up to make a big change in your health and weight loss goals.

When you are keeping a food journal make sure to:

  • Keep track as precise as possible. A chicken salad is very vague. But knowing that your salad had 3 cups of green leaf lettuce, 1/4 cup of shredded carrots, 4 oz. chicken, 1/2 a large avocado and 4 tablespoons of balsamic vinaigrette is a lot more specific, and will help you a lot more. If you are eating out, you may not know exactly how much you are eating. So guesstimate as good as you can.

  • Keep track of your beverages as well. For instance, drinking a latte does count towards your calorie count. Just because it is liquid, does not mean that it does not count. You may find out you are drinking ½ of your daily calorie allotment in your coffee alone.

  • Keep track of dates and times. This will let you know patterns that you have like the times of days or the month you tend to binge. When you understand this, you can plan for it and have a counter plan in place.

  • Keep track of how you feel emotionally when you are eating. This is something that can help determine emotional eating patterns. If you know that you are eating out of stress or boredom, you can create other ways to deal with it.

  • Keep track of how you feel physically when you eat. This will let you know if you have any food sensitivities or allergies. If you do have reactions to foods, many times you will not have them until after your food or later in the day, so if you start to get a headache or get nauseous then write it down. You may be able to connect it to something you ate.

  • Keep track of what you are doing while you are eating. Many people eat while they work or do another activity. This is important to know because it can also wind up being a case of emotional eating, or you could be unconsciously eating and wind up eating way more than you planned to.

Keeping a good food journal can help you see not only how much of each macro nutrient you are eating. This includes your proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, as well as your micro nutrients, like your vitamins and minerals. Understanding what nutrients you are eating can help you to improve your health and balance it out.

This journal will help you become more accountable. It helps you to see through the bullshit stories you tell yourself. It is hard to lie to yourself if the numbers are looking you in the face. On the same token, if you truly are eating as good as you think and are having issues with your health or losing weight, then you know it is time to see a doctor and find out what is going on in your body. Remember, this is only for you to see so be honest.



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