Diet Journaling for Weight Loss
If you’re trying to lose weight, one idea that you might have heard or that your doctor may have told you about is “diet journaling.” It’s not an idea that most people are familiar with, which is a shame. It’s useful for weight loss as well as for a number of other things. So, what is diet journaling? How does it work? How can it help you lose weight and what else is it good for?
Eating is such a natural part of our everyday lives that sometimes we do it without thinking about it. That can lead us to eat more than we realize or eat too much of certain foods.
Diet journals are a tool to help us better understand what we eat so that we can make better, more conscious decisions. Keeping a diet journal overtime can help you to better understand your eating habits but starting a diet journal is likely to make you think more carefully about what you eat in the first place.
How Does it Work?
Diet Journals can be as simple or as complex as you want them to be – or as complex as your doctor wants them to be.
A basic diet journal could just be lists of what you eat that you keep on your phone or a notebook that can fit in your pocket. For a more specific diet journal, write down the times that you ate, or use a schedular instead of a notebook. That way, the time fields are already provided for you.
Even more complex journals may include information like the carbohydrate or calorie count for the foods that you eat. This information isn’t always as readily available as it should be for certain foods, but some books or a quick internet search can find you a rough estimate for just about anything.
Finally, your diet journal can include other pieces of information, like physical activity.
What Does it Do?
As mentioned above, starting a diet journal can help you to think more about your eating habits and keeping one can help you to better understand your diet. One great example is why you eat what you eat.
A lot of people make their worst diet decisions when they’re stressed or in a hurry. You might also make different dietary decisions in different social events or when you spend time with different people. Diet journaling can help you understand these relationships so that you can plan ahead for them.
You and your doctor can personalize your weight loss goals by using your dietary journal. For example, you may try to cut calories by eating a light breakfast but your dietary journal may indicate that when you eat a larger breakfast you eat less throughout the day so a larger breakfast might make more sense for you. After all, the reason that most diets fail is that they are “cookie-cutter” diets that try to give the same recommendations to everybody. These diets can be a good place to start but modifying them with your diet journal can make them more effective and more bearable.
Beyond Weight Loss
Losing weight through diet journaling isn’t the only benefit. Food can affect us in many different ways that we might not be aware of. Diet journaling can help us to uncover those relationships.
Through diet journaling, you may find that you eat more when you’re stressed but you may also find other things like you tend to have headaches on days when you eat certain foods. Avoiding these foods can help you to live a more enjoyable and productive life even if it doesn’t necessarily contribute to your weight loss goals.
Diet journaling can help you to lose weight by giving you a better understanding of your relationship with food. However, the benefits don’t stop there. The great thing about diet journaling is that it doesn’t cost anything and you could get started right now.