"How Do I Keep a Daily Food Log?"
Creating a daily food log can open your eyes to what you are putting in your mouth. I find myself eating without thinking, and I do not think I’m alone... First, I'll cover the simple steps of keeping a food log, and then we'll look at different reasons to keep a daily food log.
How To Tips
I do not recommend endless food journaling. A short time span, from three days to a week, can provide plenty of information about your eating habits. The last thing you want to do is obsessively record every morsel of food you ingest for months on end. This creates stress you do not need.
Creating a food log can be summed up in three easy steps:
1. Decide Where to Write
2. Decide What to Write
3. Start Writing
Where to Write
I prefer using the computer over pen and paper. The advantage of the computer is that you can create a spreadsheet with your info. I put "time" as a column down the right hand side, so I could see when I was eating. I also had all the days I logged lined up so I could see patterns. Also, computers are less likely to be misplaced than pen and paper.
The advantage of paper and pencil is that it goes with you to restaurants and such. I found that I was at the computer often enough to remember what I had eaten earlier in the day. You might find it easier to look back at your own handwriting.
What To Write
So, do you write "burger" or "all-beef patty, cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle, mayo, ketchup & sesame seed bun"? It depends on the goal of your log. If you want to see how many calories or fat grams you're ingesting, and you're going to look everything up then by all means, be exact. But if you are just wanting to take a closer look at the breakdown of carbs, protein, fruits and veggies in your diet, then "burger" is protein and carbs... no need for further explanation. (No, the lettuce and tomato are not a serving of veggies. Look at your fist. That is a serving size.)
I recommend a chart format, even if the rows are simply "breakfast", "lunch", "dinner", and "snack".
Start writing down EVERYTHING you eat. This is why I think a day or two is enough. It is a pain to write "Egg, cheese, toast, butter, three strawberries, and half a glass of juice" It can get really tiresome after awhile. But if you do NOT write every single thing you put in your mouth down, you might as well not make a food log at all. The exception to this is if you are looking for a food sensitivity.
I sat down and wrote what I ate once or twice a day. If you have a good memory you can do that. If you have a very busy day, you might forget, so recording after every meal might work better for you.
I often do not eat the chocolate I usually eat when I am keeping a food log. I will skip the pretzels just so I don't have to write it down. This is not an accurate recording of how I really eat on a daily basis! If you would eat it if you weren't keeping a food log, eat it! (Then write it down)
“Why Should I Keep a Daily Food Log?”
To Improve Digestion
If you find you have frequent digestive issues and you wonder if a certain food is triggering them, a food log is a great way to pinpoint the problem. You might quickly see a pattern between a food you're eating and your digestive disturbances, such as excessive gas, heartburn, or irregular bowels. Be sure to log long enough to see the problem.
If you are only experiencing digestive discomfort infrequently and without warning, long-term food logging can get annoying. I tried to improve my digestion by making a food log, and I learned a lot about what I was eating from it, but my digestion did not improve until I added
to my routine.
To Track Sensitivities
If you know you will have to log your foods for an extended period and find that bothersome, Many people, especially children, have reactions to food like milk, or wheat, or peanuts.
For example, I know a little girl who constantly had a runny nose. We thought for sure it was allergies. Because wheat sensitivity runs in her family, we tried an experiment. We drastically reduced her wheat intake and then wrote down any wheat foods she ate. We also took special notice of her allergy symptoms. It took quite awhile to discover, but there was a clear connection between eating wheat and her runny nose. Since it took three days for the wheat to leave her system every time she ate it, without the daily food log it would have been very difficult to know for sure.
To Lose Weight
Once you've determined
how many calories
you should eat in a day, you may wonder how many calories you are eating! A daily food log can help you figure that out. A calorie counting food log needs to be very extensive. The more urgent your weight loss, the more detailed it must be. There is also a great supplement to help you
What has keeping a food log done for you? Please share your experience with food logging below. I would love to hear from you. You may also ask any questions you may have about keeping a daily food log. I would love to help any way I can :)
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