Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Weightloss Wednesdays: Keeping a Food Journal

One of the first goals on my weight loss journey to weight loss is to keep a food journal. In almost every weight loss program I've looked at, the first thing they recommend is keeping a food journal, so there's got to be some merit to it, right?

I started keeping a food journal on Thursday of last week. And it's already been a very hard undertaking. The first day of writing down everything I ate was eye opening. You know how in the movies or on TV people will have a devil and an angel appear on those shoulders. They're supposed to be imaginary, right? Well, mind are NOT!

The first temptation was to just not write something down.

My Devil coaxed, "What will it hurt? No one will know? It's not like there's a camera watching you?"

Then my little angel piped up with, "But YOU will know. And you're only hurting yourself by not being truthful."

And this was just about what to write down! I succeeded in choosing to be honest about what I ate, but the next day, a new temptation was presented to me. I'd gone through and calculated calories for the first day and, though it could have been worse, I wasn't very happy.

As I stood in the kitchen trying to find something for breakfast, my little devil interrupted with, "Well if you're going to insist on writing everything down, then you need to make sure to choose only the healthy things."

And, though this is starting to sound a little backward, my angel cut in with, "What's the point in writing down what you eat if you're not going to eat what you normally eat? You'll just be skewing the results! You need to be truthful!"

What's a girl to do? Of course, I've compromised a little bit. I decided that it's okay to throw in some healthier options (because it just is) but that, at least for the first little while, it's okay eat some of the extra, unhealthier options. It's a learning process and I can't just expect myself to go from eating french toast slathered in butter and brownies dotted with M&M's (not my fault, my mom made me take them home - curse you Mom!) to nibbling on carrot sticks and apple slices. That's just a little unreasonable.

I have learned something in the few days that I've been doing this though. I'm now VERY aware of everything I eat. Before I eat something, I'm actually asking myself, "Do I really want to have to write that down?" There are so many things that I would just pop in my mouth because I was bored, I was in the kitchen (you gotta test while you're cooking, right?), or I was annoyed with my husband! So, if nothing else, holding me accountable for everything I eat will help cut out some major calories.

I thought about creating a spreadsheet form (you know my obsession with those) to print out for each day, but I decided I didn't want to waste the printer ink. I have plenty of pencils and paper sitting around - and they work just fine! Right now, I'm using a small binder (I think it's the 1/2" size) with lined paper and a pencil to record what I eat. I divide it by 3 meals, allow a spot for snacks, and then record how much water I drink (by estimating how many ounces I take in). I don't drink soda and I rarely have juice or fruit drinks.

So far it's taken a HUGE amount of will power to continue keeping the food journal current. Easter was a horrible time to try and start it, but I have to begin somewhere, right? Every time I sneak a piece of candy I'm tempted to just ignore it. I'm sure I'll never quite get over the temptation to eat those kinds of things, but at least I'm more aware of what I'm putting into my mouth now.

Do you have any tips for keeping a food journal? How do you overcome snack time temptations? Email me at and you might see your tips or stores featured in the future.

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