Food logs-but why?
If I had a penny for every time someone asked me why they need to log their food... I'd be living in my dream home on the shores of Lake Michigan right now. (Please excuse me while I day dream...)
I work surrounded my engineers and "numbers people". They want to see the facts, the data, the excel sheets. They won't make any decisions without it. And you know what? That's fricken smart. So I thought to myself, why aren't we doing this when it comes to our health. We can't improve what we don't track, right?
What I love about food logs is that they allow us to identify trends. Things like how much water you're drinking or what good groups you might be missing are pretty basic. But let me tell you a story:
I worked with a client who wanted to change her lifestyle habits to avoid becoming diabetic--talk about motivation. She kept a food log for several weeks and identified that every Wednesday she completely lost sight of her goals and made poor decisions. When we took a closer look, we were able to identify that these poor choices stemmed not from her lack of willpower or personal failure. They stemmed from the fact that Tuesday night's she was responsible for her carpool shift at her daughter's school and then carted her daughter right off to practice. She had very little time Tuesday evenings to make dinner and typically resorted to fast food. This led to lack on sleep on Tuesday nights, grogginess Wednesday mornings, lack of motivation to pack food on Wednesdays and--ah ha! Poor food choices throughout Wednesdays.
When we can identify these trends, we can stop pointing the finger at ourselves and get to the root of the problem instead. When we know the problem, change can be made! This is truly powerful and the sense of confidence it will bring you is remarkable.
WRITE IT DOWN. I always suggest to start by keeping a physical food log. You could keep a notebook, or even a scrap piece of paper, but the act of putting pen to paper is going to resonate with your brain so much more. There are hundreds of food logging apps out there. (My favorite is MyFitnessPal because it has a HUGE database) If this works best for you--then go for it. Just beware, the second you pick up your phone, it will be much easier to get side tracked. I have my own food log that I use that I'd love to share with you! I'll be showing it off Friday.
BE SPECIFIC. Tracking that you had a "turkey sandwich" or "pizza" is not going to help all that much. While it's better than nothing, make sure you're writing estimated serving sizes and include where your food came from such as the brand or name of the restaurant. In general, this is enough information to get you on the right path. However, if you are someone with very specific goals, macro tracking may be best for you. Stay tuned for future blog posts on this.
BE HONEST. I will be the first to admit that when tracking my food, I catch myself saying, "I didn't really have that much..." once I realize how many grams of sugar are really in that pint of Ben & Jerry's. Fibbing on your food logs will not only throw your data off, but it will also keep you from learning how accept yourself and the choices you make. Some days, realizing how much added sugar ice cream has is going to make an impact on your decision to indulge and other days, it's just not. That is okay, just keep track of it.
Food logging is one of the first steps in living MNML. I'll explain more about this on Wednesday when we dive a little deeper into the viscous diet cycle most of us find ourselves in, how food logging plays a role, and my approach to "dieting" or rather--not dieting ;)
That's all for now, stay smpl.