Keep a Food Journal for Weight Loss

The title is “Keep a Food Journal for Weight Loss”, but this article can easily be used for any diet plan. Dieting isn’t simply for weight loss. You can also form a diet plan to improve your health, to gain muscle and get stronger, or to improve your athletic performance.

When you think about it, we really are what we eat. Good food goes in, and our bodies become good machines that allow us to do what we want. Bad food goes in, and our bodies start breaking down and don’t allow us to accomplish what we want to do in life.

Just think of the body as a biological machine. I have always loved the car analogy in this regard. A car needs the appropriate gas for the engine. It needs regular oil changes. Fluids need replaced periodically. It needs cleaned on a regular basis both inside and out.

Put the right stuff in on a regular basis and your car runs at top performance. Neglect any of these things and your cars performance begins to suffer. It is the same with our bodies.

Food gives us energy to run. Food helps us to lubricate our joints and ligaments. Food helps us create new blood cells and adds to all the other things we need in out blood. Food also have a cleansing effect for cleaning out any harmful things in out body.

Now if food can do all that the opposite should hold true as well. Bad food can make us feel lethargic, gum up our joints and ligaments, destroy beneficial things in our bloodstream, and just make our whole bodies a garbage dump.

Food is important. And I will emphasize over and over again, we really can’t get anywhere with our health and fitness goals if we really don’t have a handle on what we are putting in our mouths. And it all begins with a food journal.

What is a food journal?

Simply this…

It is a record of everything you put in your mouth. The type and amounts of food as closely as you can measure them. Recorded every time you eat, no matter how small it is. With the time of day, and preferably how you feel before and after eating.

The knowledge you get from doing this is priceless.

A week of doing this will open your eyes like never before. A month doing this will set you on the right track to meet each and every health and fitness goal you have. A year of doing this will change your life forever.

To start buy yourself either an actual journal or a day planner that has a page per day and possibly includes the hours in the day. A journal entry doesn’t need to be long and drawn out. Here is an example of a journal entry:

Friday July 13th, 2012

7:30am – Woke up feeling pretty good this morning and drank my normal glass of water.
8:00am – Ate a bowl of greek yogurt with raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. Put in my normal 3 scoops of yogurt using one of our bigger spoons (equals roughly 1/4 of the container and 250 calories) I used a handful of each type of berry. (This equals around 50 calories per handful or 150 altogether). My breakfast this morning is 400 calories and makes me feel full for a long time.

You get the idea. Try to get a rough idea of how many calories the food has, and how it makes you feel in a very general sense. And remember to add every little snack and drink. Brewed coffee and tea don’t have many calories until you add milk and sugar, but add them anyhow so you can write down how you feel using them.

Once you write everything down you might be surprised how much you are eating everyday. For instance, maybe you never really eat a big meal, but you are snacking on food way more than you realized. Or maybe you are the opposite type of person that skips breakfast, but eats large portions later in the day. You might be surprised how many calories you can actually eat in one meal.

In any case, a food journal is the foundation for any food planning you will do in the future, and is a very practical necessity.

This is our 31st challenge in The Personal Health Challenge Series…