Adarsh Gupta, DO


Daily Food Journal: Control Your Triggers and Improve Your Eating Behaviors

The food journal is the most powerful tool for your weight loss success. Studies show that people who keep a food journal lose more weight and are more successful at keeping it off for the long-term than those who don’t.

What makes the Food Journal so effective?

Most food journals focus on weight, calories, and grams of fat, protein, and carbohydrates. While there is certainly some benefit to including this kind of information, experience has taught me that this data isn’t particularly useful when addressing issues of long-term weight loss and emotional eating.

The Food Journal focuses not just on the food, but also on your feeling and habits that have an impact on the hows, whys, and whats of your eating. This food journal is designed in such a way that you’ll be able to identify certain patterns that might have an impact on your food choices and eating behaviors.

For instance:

  • Which foods make you feel energized afterward, and which make you feel sluggish?
  • Which foods do you typically reach for when you are stressed?
  • What effect do certain foods have on your quality of sleep?
  • How often do you eat when you are not hungry?
  • Do you tend to eat faster or slower when eating with others compared to eating by yourself?

We often are disconnected by our eating experiences and from out bodies. Being more conscious of our behaviors and the driving forces behind them is a crucial part of the weight loss journey, so if you are unsure about the answers to any of the above questions, the Food Journal is for you!

How do I get the most out of my journal for maximum results?

  1. Be Honest. This tool is for your eyes only, and you do not have to share it with anyone else if you do not want to. The idea is not to judge what you record; rather, it is to increase your awareness and gain insight into your daily habits that might contribute to what and how much you are eating and how you are feeling. Honesty is key if you want to use the journal as it is designed and get results.
  2. Be Consistent. Get into the habit of filling out your journal every day, and soon it will become second nature. The more consistent you are in filling it out daily, the better. If, for some reason, it is not accessible to you, record the information somewhere else, and transfer it to your journal later when it is more accessible.
  3. Record Throughout The Day. Frequent entries throughout the day will help you stay more present and focused on your behaviors than if you wait until the end of the day to fill it all out.
  4. Be Specific. This is beneficial for two reasons:
    1. Being specific helps you better recognize how much you are eating. Just writing down “pasta” is not as effective as specifying the amount. (There is a big difference between 1/2 cup of pasta and 3 cups of pasta!) If you are not sure how much you are eating, measure your food (at least once) to gauge accurate portion sizes.
    2. Being specific enables you to assess your progress better. For instance, on the first day of your journal entry, you might have 5 diet sodas throughout the day. Two weeks later, you are down to 1 diet soda per day. If you did not specify the number of diet sodas in your journal, you would not have been able to recognize how much you improved over time.
  5. Play Detective. Are you dreading filling out a food log every day? Instead of viewing it as a chore, have fun with it! Think of it as an exercise to get to know yourself better and figure out the driving forces that motivate you to do what you do and eat what you eat. For instance, if you frequently suffer from chronic health issues, think of your journal as the gateway to figuring out the causes. You might notice that you only experience digestive upset after meals that contain dairy, or you only get headaches on the days you do not drink enough water. A food journal is one of the best tools to help you identify the root causes of what you are struggling with, from physical symptoms, cravings, lack of motivation, and more.

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