You’re probably familiar with the idea of journaling – recording your daily activities and feelings in a mindful way, and you might even have experienced benefits from this practice in the past. Food journaling takes this craft and applies it specifically to what we eat. Despite food being the thing that keeps us alive, a practice in which we partake multiple times a day, it’s often performed unconsciously. Starting a food journal can inject some thought and consideration into what we’re putting in our bodies, helping us to see the unconscious patterns in what we eat.
Typically, a food journal will consist of multiple entries a day for your meals, and perhaps a side note on snacks. But you can make a food journal any way you want, by adding as much detail as you like, or just skipping straight to the bullet points. It could be somewhere you explore your health goals, or consider the ethical implications of your consumption. A food journal is just a template that encourages you to be thoughtful with what you eat.
The Benefits Of Food Journaling
Many people start a food journal with weight loss as their number one goal. If that’s something of a priority for you, then writing a food journal can have huge effects on your progress towards a weight goal – a review of people who engaged in self-monitoring their food intake revealed that journalers lost around twice as much weight as those who weren’t keeping track.
If weight loss isn’t your goal, or at least not your priority, then journaling can still have some serious benefits. Despite, or perhaps because of, the centrality of food to our lives we’re often startling unconscious about what we’re consuming. “From caffeine to sugar to all-things processed, our society has turned towards mindless consumption,” says Mary Allen, a writer at OXEssays and BigAssignments. “A food journal can bring mindfulness back to what we eat, revealing deep and meaningful connections between our bodies and the economy and environments in which we live.”
Tips For Journaling
If you’re new to a journaling practice, then it can be hard building the habit. Here are a few tips to get you going.
- Include Your Feelings: For a food journal to have an impact on mindfulness and reveal deep connections between yourself and the earth, it shouldn’t be a simple analytic account. Include feelings of pleasure, satisfaction or dismay in your journal for a fuller account.
- Practice Honesty: A food journal is for your eyes only, so the only person you’re lying to is yourself. To get the most out of a food journal, don’t hide anything. So what if you snacked a bit too much – journaling it can solidify your commitment to eating better in the feature.
- Include Your Beverages: For many of us, caffeine consumption could be having a hidden impact on our sleep and energy levels, whereas for others we might simply be drinking too little water. Include everything you drink for a complete picture of your intake.
- A Picture’s Worth A Thousand Words: If you’re compiling a digital journal, adding pictures to your journal will help to jog your memory and provide a more compelling account of your consumption. Photos convey a lot of information visually without calories, grams and measures getting in the way.
A Word Of Warning
A food journal isn’t necessarily for everyone, so don’t pressure yourself to maintain it if you don’t feel it’s beneficial to your overall health. “For those with OCD tendencies or a history of disordered eating, keeping a food journal may fuel unhealthy tendencies,” says Lorraine Williams, a health expert at Boomessays and Essayroo. “A food journal should encourage mindful eating, and if you find yourself obsessing over documentation and calorie counting, then this analytic practice will crowd out mindfulness altogether.”
Writing a food journal is a fantastic practice, and you can start any time. Reflecting on what you’ve eaten, why you chose to eat it, and how it made you feel can reveal hidden patterns and behaviours, bringing you greater self-knowledge and promoting self control. Find a deeper connection with yourself and the planet through journaling.
Bio: Lauren Groff is a health writer at Ukwritings.com and Academized.com. She writes about cooking, lifestyle and wellbeing and loves promoting new ways to be healthy, firmly believing anyone can change their life in a day. Also, she is a proofreader at State Of Writing writing service.