Exercise logs and food journals, these tools work
May 3, 2012
Last week we featured the importance and effectiveness of exercise logs regarding adherence and long-term exercise success and some tips for what to include when you create a log. This week, we will concentrate on the benefits and guidelines for developing a food journal. Take a moment and check out last week’s column introduction as this will provide you with some fundamentals and then get ready to record your daily food input into your journal – it is revealing information. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.
Food Journals Work
• Food journals are a history of our eating experiences including both qualitative and quantitative information which may help direct us throughout our lives – not just when attempting to drop a few pounds.
• Set your S.M.A.R.T. goals and record that information into your journal so you will know exactly what your daily caloric input requirements must be to reach your goals. If you are not achieving your goals, reassess and reestablish goals that are attainable for you.
• The key when developing a food journal is to be honest, specific and consistent with your recording of this data.
• As with exercise logs, there are programs or applications that you may access online or via cell phone; however, a spiral notebook will also work fine. What matters the most is to set yourself up for success by creating a system of recording that works specifically for you.
• Keep your food journal with you at all times if possible as you will consume food throughout the day and may forget the exact details (and the “devil” as they say “is in the details”). *This is where the phone applications are helpful as you can even scan in the portion sizes, etc.
• Since details are critical when recording your consumption in the journal, it is important to determine the type of food, portion size/quantity/caloric value/how it was prepared and then record that information accurately. This also may identify nutrient and energy imbalances so you can address those accordingly.
• When recording, divide the day into meals, even if you are consuming smaller meals (i.e. healthy snacks), as this may target problem areas and those challenging times of day when it is more difficult to manage your input.
• The small things matter – record every morsel. That is one of the fantastic aspects of food journaling, it keeps you aware and accountable for the food you input.
• Food consumption includes beverages, and you want to include water consumption as well.
• Also, record how you feel each day and how you feel about the food you are consuming daily. This is important information as it may explain the food choices you are making. If you are feeling a little blue or ill, on these days the data may not be an accurate reflection of what you consume regularly. Making a note of this identifies those inevitable ups/downs and may help you to avoid those peaks and valleys in the future.
• Record any events/vacations you attended and make note of your eating behaviors on those days. Again, this identifies potential issues that may impact your success.
Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Never Summer Fitness, LLC located in Grand Lake, Colorado. She may be reached at her website at http://www.neversummerfitness.com, her email at NSFGL@comcast.net, her blog at http://www.skyhidailynews.com and her Facebook page at Never Summer Fitness.
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