At the end of last year a friend of mine began a food journal, keeping track of what she ate throughout the day. I had heard of people doing this, but I never understood how beneficial it could be until I was motivated to start my own. Through keeping a personal food journal I was able to learn about some of my eating habits and, over time, hold myself accountable to live with a healthier diet. Here are 4 reasons why you also might consider keeping a food journal.
1. Awareness. I have always considered myself a “healthy” eater…well, up until I started keeping track of what I was putting into my body. Within the first week of writing down my eating schedule, I was able to go back and see what I had eaten. First of all, I knew I liked eating chocolate, but I never realized how much. Looking back at what I ate and drank, I became aware of the fact that I was indulging in too many sweets and not eating enough non-processed foods.
2. Accountability. By writing down what I ate, I naturally became more aware of what I was consuming, both healthy and unhealthy foods alike. I noticed that after a few weeks, I was tired of seeing myself jot down how many times I had eaten fast food. My primary purpose for keeping a food journal was simply to become aware of my habits, but over time I began holding myself accountable as well. If I was tempted to eat something unhealthy, I knew I was going to have to write it down in my journal at some point or another. Accountability slowly began playing a part in my eating habits, and it didn’t take very long for me to become inclined to reach for a healthy snack as opposed to over-processed junk.
3. Structure. I am currently working part time, and I had noticed (pre food journaling days) that I had a lot of free time on my hands. Because I had so much open time, the organization in my life started to falter. I quickly learned that I needed something to do to keep me busy and productive, and keeping a food journal helped me do that. It added some much needed structure to my life, and amidst all of that abundant free time, I had something to keep my day on track. Bonus point.
4. Meal Planning. Food journaling got me planning meals for the first time. I used to go to the grocery store and buy whatever groceries I thought I needed for the week. Often times I wouldn’t put my groceries to good use and unfortunately, they would go bad. Since I began jotting down my daily meals, I have been able to not overspend during my weekly grocery haul, and have been putting to use everything that I purchase. Meal planning has also led me to make healthier buys, and in turn eating healthier at home.