Ode To The Food Journal

Food journalEveryone who hires me as their coach has a similar starting point; they all agree to keep a food journal.

They are not all excited, however, to keep this food journal.

In fact, it’s probably one of the least popular assignments I give.

It’s generally met with some pretty automatic arguments.

…no time.

…feels like a diet!

…it hasn’t helped before.

…why bother?

And these are all valid points.

So here’s my equally valid answer:

If you want to lose weight, or do any major work to change any aspect of your life, you need data.

You need to know where you are.

What you’re doing.

And which direction you’re headed in.

If weight loss is your goal, then writing down:

  • what you eat,
  • how hungry you were when you started,
  • and how full you were when you stopped…

…these are some of the most important pieces of data you can collect.

Looking objectively at something you’re doing gives you clues.

And, like a good detective, you will use those clues to figure things out.

There’s only one big caveat here. And that is, whatever you eat, whatever you do, no beating yourself up about it.

Be kind.

Be curious.

Be gentle with yourself.

It’s just data.

That’s it.

Use it to make changes.

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4 Responses to “Ode To The Food Journal”

  1. Jan Wlodarski says:

    Hi Cookie,

    I have to start keeping my food journal again. It DOES help. One thing I do with it is I circle the good things I eat and compare to the not-so-good things I eat. I strive to get more and more good things on my list with the goal of the not-so-good things slowly disappearing. Today’s the day I continue my goal of better health! Thanks for your newsletter! 🙂

  2. Hey Jan! Yes, it absolutely does help….I like that you keep the focus on what you are doing right as well as what you’d like to change. Another suggestion is to focus on how hungry you were when you started eating, and what level of satiety you were at when you stopped eating. That will help you identify times when you either started when you weren’t hungry, or when you ate past satisfaction. That will be key to getting rid of the drive to overeat.

  3. Margie says:

    Thank you for such a helpful explanation of WHY keeping a food journal is important. I like the “data collection” aspect you mention – it’s much more objective (vs. diet-driven) and it makes sense. Thanks for the reminder!

  4. I LOVE the data collection perspective, too, Margie! It makes it much more objective….no more judgement, just information!