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Thread: benefits of keeping a food journal

  1. #1
    samariah's Avatar
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    Default benefits of keeping a food journal

    Four days ago I started logging what I eat in a little notebook/journal thing. I thought it would be a good way for me to get an exact look at what exactly im eating on a day to day basis and whether or not im eating out of hunger, emotion or boredom. At the end of each day, I write a little commentary about how I feel about myself, about what I ate and how it feels inside of me. I write whether I ate for hunger or for other reasons. I write how I enjoyed a delicious, wholesome meal or something small that I indulged in with a friend. And so far for the past few days, I haven't been putting a calorie cap on myself. I eat as much as I feel i really need/truly want and I've been eating between 1400 and just under 2000 a day. I have more energy and I really feel like this helping me to normalize my approach to food. Its becoming more intuitive and Im allowing myself to eat proper portions of things that were off limits before. Im enjoying everything more but in a healthy, non fanatical way. And I even lost two pounds already without even starving myself or trying obssesively to "diet." I don't want to get ahead of myself, but I feel like this might be be my final door to normal, healthy, intuitive eating.

  2. #2

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    Default Re: benefits of keeping a food journal

    YAY! I am so proud of you

  3. #3

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    Default Re: benefits of keeping a food journal

    I have been keeping a food journal for about 6 months. It makes me more conscious of what I choose to put in my body. So I avoid just eating things just because the opportunity arises. I don't get too specific about portion sizes, I just write down what I eat and what I drink.

  4. #4
    Can't cook. Sarah_'s Avatar
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    Default Re: benefits of keeping a food journal

    Sob, I bought a scale and realized I'd gained ten pounds. Food journal, here I come.
    Either this wallpaper goes, or I do.

  5. #5
    buttons's Avatar
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    Default Re: benefits of keeping a food journal

    I've just started one to try and combat my grazing when I'm not actually hungry. That, and I'm a little rounder than I'd like to be!

  6. #6
    mango woman
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    Default Re: benefits of keeping a food journal

    I've kept a food journal for a long time. In fact, I can't remember the last time I went without. I think I probably went without for a teeny while when I was going through some hard times but other than that it's one of the things that helped me start moving away from eating disorders- though at first I used it as another way of obsessing.

    Who else keeps a food journal? I'm curious as to what things people write about. I generally just write what I have to eat and drink during each day.. and of course some negative feelings are written down if I feel like crap from what I ate, etc etc. I really like the ideas of writing down why I ate the food [hunger or otherwise] and what delicious food I ate and what I indulged on.. I think that may help me a little bit.

    I hope some more people post on this thread, I know I could learn a lot from it.

  7. #7

    Default Re: benefits of keeping a food journal

    When do you find the time? I mean, I wouldn't remember what I ate 10 minutes later without a picture! (or even if I had eaten, necessarily)
    Last edited by Quantum Mechanic; Dec 6th, 2008 at 02:04 PM. Reason: add info

  8. #8
    mango woman
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    Default Re: benefits of keeping a food journal

    ha, actually I'm not really sure how I manage to remember. sometimes I'll quick jot it down if i have a spare minute, sometimes I write everything down at night.. and once in a while I'll write it down the next day if I forgot. Sometimes I look back on what I've eaten to see what to make for dinner or something. I've noticed too that when I start pigging out a lot [i.e. eating tons of cashews.. thank you stress] keeping a journal is a little helpful [but also a kick in the teeth] because I can try to count the days of being cashew clean.

    I don't have to worry about remembering whether or not I ate because.. well.. I unfortunately am always eating!!!!!!!!!!

  9. #9
    patientia
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    Default Re: benefits of keeping a food journal

    I use CRON-o-Meter:
    http://spaz.ca/cronometer/

    It's free open-source cross-platform software for tracking nutrient intake, exercise, parameters like weight, blood glucose...

  10. #10
    Cricket24's Avatar
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    Default Re: benefits of keeping a food journal

    This looks like a good idea, and it's something I've been considering for a little while. It seems like it will help me judge if I'm getting enough of the vegan food groups, or if I'm eating too much processed crap. Definitely something to look back on if I start to feel sick or something. I think I'll get a little journal over the weekend and start. Do you think you could give me an example of how you write things down? For example, do you write the time you eat and the amount? I'm just wondering how specific you get with this.
    "I am not a vegetarian because I love animals; I am a vegetarian because I hate plants." ~A. Whitney Brown

  11. #11
    sigen92's Avatar
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    Default Re: benefits of keeping a food journal

    I have been keeping a food journal for about a month now. I find that it really makes me have a varied diet. I make it a game, how long can I go before eating the same thing again? It's a lot of fun actually!

    I write at night, right before going to bed. I include a short plan for the next day (for example: breakfast: 2 pots soy yoghurt, 1 banana, peanutflour) and then I write what I have eaten that day. This is usually more detailed. Instead of writing just "green smoothie", I include what went into that smoothie and how much of each thing.

    I also write down how much exercise I did. After going through it, I'm stoked to see that I've exercised every single day since starting the journal! Woot!!

  12. #12

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    Default Re: benefits of keeping a food journal

    I did it for some time, using www.nutridiary.com

    (Unfortunately, it was NOT keeping me on a varied diet, as it is easier to "log" a meal you already have eaten before, as you con't have to enter the specifics again ;-)

    Best regards,
    Andy

  13. #13
    Daffodil's Avatar
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    Default

    I keep an excel spreadsheet which lists all my usual foods along with all the vitamins and minerals they contain. I just have to type in how many grams i eat and it calculates what im deficient in that day. Started it about ten years ago and i keep editing and adding to it. Quite sad i know haha. I enjoy Excel

  14. #14
    VeganAthlete's Avatar
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    Default Re: benefits of keeping a food journal

    I've tried different methods of logging my food...apps on my iPhone, spreadsheets on Microsoft, Food Diaries and notepads. They've all worked really well. The most difficult thing is to remember to log your food. I used to log mine at the end of the day or in between meals. Now, however, I can't seem to find the time or energy to log my meals.

  15. #15

    Default Re: benefits of keeping a food journal

    I've had just the opposite experience with logging food. I used to eat so naturally and never had issues with weight or anything, though looking back my diet wasnt that great (this is pre vegan days and years ago) and I had health problems I am sure were related to my diet (reproductive). I had severe endometriosis and ended up with a hysterectomy and loss of both ovaries. The shock of surgical menopause at 33 was very traumatic for my body. At the same time I quit smoking and did gain a little weight but since I had been near underweight before (mostly from being unable to eat a lot of foods without becoming ill especially dairy) it should have been ok but I hated it. Everything felt out of control with terrible symptoms and I was still in pain (had to have another surgery a year AFTER my castration because the idiot gyno left the endometriosis behind on my bladder and just yanked my organs out). I went to a naturopath in desperation to feel human again and she put me on a strict anti candida diet due to constant yeast infections. I had to log my foods and symptoms daily as part of the treatment. It started me on a path of hell I still battle. I became literally obsessed with food. I found that I could control my body and focus on something and escape the hell of emotions I was going through. Somewhere along the line it stopped being about health and started being about weight loss and calories and macronutrients bla bla. I became dangerously thin and ill. I went through three rounds of treatment for anorexia nervosa, the third and final treatment self initiated. I have come a very long way and eat more naturally and allow myself more variety (as a vegan) but almost seven years since that candida diet and I still log my food and track calories and macronutients, still plan menus out for months in advance down to the last detail, still strive for the perfect diet and while I fight back and allow myself treats I have lost all sense of what is normal. I work on and sometimes succeed at eating intuitively and changing things up to rebel against my rigidity. But always the fear and guilt overwhelm me and I go back to logging. It is very time consuming (especially while I am juggling college and working and also exercising an hour six days a week and/or riding my bike to work) and I even find myself doing it while at work but I try to do it discreetly. I wish I could just throw those d*&# menus and logs out and just let it be but there is that sense of control I would have to give up, even if it controls me. Its silly because I know exactly what I am eating and what's in it and the calorie and ingredient content bla bla in my head (from years of obsession) but i still have to write it down. I worked and worked on this with a dietician and therapist but I still havent been able to give it up. What I would give to have never started on this path in the first place. The only upside was I had a seamless transition to becoming vegan because of my ability to plan ahead and analyze what I needed etc.

    I'm just sharing this to show another side of food logging. I dont think there is anything wrong with it per say, but just to be careful (especially if you have a type A perfectionistic personality or addictive personality). Dont spend more than a few minutes a day on it and don't overanalyze your intake if you can help it, lest you lose the whole focus of food as nourishment, health, sustainable to oneself and others, and enjoyment and as a natural part of life. Unfortunately in the world today with the industrial machine this focus seems to have been largely lost.

  16. #16
    Bjorn's Avatar
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    Default Re: benefits of keeping a food journal

    I've been mentally keeping a food journal when I started off a different approach to my food relationship via the Zermati/Apfeldorfer method (basically they learn you to have a normal relationship to food, by dealing with your habits and emotions, rather than giving you guideline what to eat how much, what not to eat etc...)
    (most people keep a physical journal but I din't need one)

    Basic and very brief explanation
    The most important things to note about your food intake were how hungry you felt, how full you felt, (scale for both) and what made you eat, how you felt before during after the meal. Without judging yourself.
    And this for a few days/ weeks as necessary.
    You get very quickly an idea what makes you eat apart from true physiologic hunger, and from there you can obviously work on the root causes of under or overeating.
    Emphasis is given on learning to recognize true hunger and when you start to be just right filled and not full or overfull, what emotions you need to work on to avoid using food as a comfort aid, and trying to eat when you really are hungry as this will both be healthy and more enjoyable taste wise,

    that's the first time I've lost long term weight, though I'm not sure how much as another measure is to throw out (or hide) your scale!! I've lost one or two jean sizes in a few months, so I can't complain and will stick to this.

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