Every patient leaves their first nutrition session with a food journal, their task is to fill it out as thoroughly as they can. The first week 70% of the patients return a completed food journal, by week 2, that compliance drops to less than 20%. I ask my patients all the time “where is your food journal” most will hide behind the excuse that they forgot, which is probably true, but also reflects the importance of the task. The statistic behind food journalling are impressive, research shows that dieters who record what they eat, consume 400 kcal less than those who don’t.
Recording your food intake seems like a job. And I think that is not only true but a great approach in order to understand it’s importance. Whether you are looking to gain, lose or maintain your weight, starting to understand your dietary habits is like getting a new job. When you first start a job you write out the processes in order to get a better understanding. In time you will understand and perform each assigned task without the need of looking or keeping notes, the task has become second nature.
Food journalling is no different, when you begin a diet, recording your food will ensure that the dietary principles are followed as well give you and your nutritionist a better understanding of your eating habits. I don’t think a food journal should be completed each week that you are on a diet, I recommend consistent recording until you understand your eating habits, and then to periodically complete one in order to keep on top of your habits. I also suggest different food journals for different situations, I have created over 20 food journals, each acts as a teaching tool for a challenge, some allow you to grade your compliance, others have you write down only what you eat in between meals vs the actual meal.
Get the most out of your food journal, on day one of the 21 day challenge, we ask you to write out what you eat just for one day, with as much detail possible.
Here are some questions that you should ask yourself at the end of the day:
-What can I do better tomorrow?
-How can I make adjustments to some of these meals?
-If I went off program today…what was a trigger factor? Could I prevent this in the future?