People use all kinds of buzzwords when talking about dieting and food without truly understanding what those terms mean or represent. For example, the term “mindfulness” is thrown around so often, that it has practically lost all meaning for many people. And yet, mindfulness is a crucial concept in leading a healthy life, especially when it comes to your nutrition.
When we’re mindful of what, how, when and how much we eat, we can make better decisions that can help us reach our health goals, be it boosting our immune system, or dealing with a chronic illness better. It’s extremely difficult with so many distractions around us (I’m talking about you, Facebook) to be mindful while eating. That’s why journaling can help you build a more mindful attitude and reach your health goals more easily.
Calorie and macronutrient tracking
Maybe you’re looking to shed a few pesky pounds, or perhaps you want to improve your gut health and digestion and reduce common issues like bloating. You’d be surprised how many people lack awareness of the fact that these and many other issues can be resolved with diet journaling.
With a clear overview of the foods you eat, their exact amounts, and the timing of your meals, you’ll be able to notice when and if you overeat, overindulge, and if you’re not consuming enough protein.
- Simplify your journal by writing down the time of your meals.
- Note down the amount of food by using a kitchen scale. You’re one Google search away from finding out the caloric value of those foods, so add a note of that, too.
- After each day or meal, create a macronutrient breakdown, to see if you have a balanced diet.
Journaling is a brilliant and simple way to notice what kind of foods you predominantly eat. We all have preferences, which means that we tend to prioritize specific flavors in our meals. That might lead to a deficiency in vitamin D, which can affect your resilience, or perhaps you’ll find yourself not consuming enough healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Use your journal to spot when you can replace certain foods with more nutritious and versatile meals to refine your diet. Adding a supplement such as Betaine HCL for better nutrient absorption is another way to reinforce your diet and keep track of how you feel as your dietary habits change.
Achieving your health goals
It’s one thing to want to shed weight, build lean muscle, or handle your health more mindfully, but a completely different thing when you put pen to paper. Keeping a diet journal gives you a realistic overview of where you are with your goals.
You can use it to break down your major health goals into more manageable milestones on a weekly and daily basis. For example, if you’re looking to lose some weight, note down how much you can realistically lose every week without jeopardizing your health, and keep taking notes on different ways to achieve that through healthy eating.
Increasing self-awareness and discipline
Journaling will help you become more mindful of your eating habits, especially the ones you’re not aware of having at all. Maybe you haven’t noticed that you snack too frequently during the day when you’re feeling stressed and under pressure. There’s a chance you’re eating more than you need to because you’re not really aware of your caloric needs.
- Putting your own eating habits in perspective will help you stick to your daily and weekly goals.
- You’ll start to understand when you’re eating because you need to and when you’re simply responding to a stress trigger.
- You can use the journal to plan out meals in advance and define your dietary structure for a more mindful approach to eating.
Noticing bad patterns to replace them
Noting down your every meal and its contents means you can spot everything that might be wrong with how you eat. You might want to rethink your food preparation methods and go for lightly steamed instead of fried foods. This will instantly help you cut empty calories and go for more nutrient-dense meals.
Your sugar cravings could be affecting your energy levels and your skin health, so you might consider replacing sweets with fresh fruit. A journal is a mirror of your dietary habits and the perfect way to create new habits by tweaking them one by one, slowly and mindfully.
Mindful eating is the key to help you detox your menu as well as your body, not just for a single summer season, but for the long haul. Bad eating habits can be quite persistent, so if you find yourself struggling with cravings, deficiencies, or low energy levels despite your best efforts with journaling, book a consultation with a functional medicine expert, and we’ll help create a smarter approach to your nutrition and lifestyle.