FOOD JOURNAL

WELCOME TO YOUR MINDFUL EATING JOURNAL

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  • NO CALORIE COUNTING

  • NO MEASURING

  • NO RULES

  • NO GUILT

  • JUST IMPROVED ACCOUNTABILITY WITHOUT THE STRESS 

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This journal is nothing like your bog-standard food diary, or tracking app, that demands you to be vigilant of every single morsel of food to be successful.

SIDE NOTE: Counting calories is a highly inaccurate process

  • Food labels that show calories are estimates, not facts- inaccuracies can range up to 20% of the stated number!

  • We don’t absorb all of the calories we consume: Depending on whether it’s a carbohydrate, fat, or protein, we absorb different quantities of calories from each.

  • How you prepare and cook your food can change the calorie content.

  • Everyone’s gut will absorb different amounts of calories, depending on the available bacteria inside us.

  • And there are many more factors known and still being discovered.

 

WHAT IS IT?

 

This journal can help you to be successful because it takes out the pressure, and focuses on the deep work that is really required for change, instead of the superficial, and quick fix options that are popular nowadays.

It is about using the guiding principles of mindfulness by bringing a non-judgemental awareness to the way that you eat. By becoming more aware, and conscious of what we eat, we can start to take more accountability for our actions and food choices.

Seeing our food laid out in front of us can not only offer us perspective on what we eat day to day, but also allows to get more creative by envisioning what foods, and habits would be better suited in that same future scenario.

GUIDE TO EACH COLUMN:

 

You’ll notice in each column that there is a heading. Some you’ll be familiar with, like the obvious one of ‘food’, while others might be novel. The following is a brief description on how to fill them out.

TIME: Self-explanatory- What time did you eat? The more precise the better.

FOOD: Just list the food and the quantity. It doesn’t need to be weighed, measured, broken down into all of it’s ingredients, or anything else that is time consuming, and so specific. Just the rough estimate of what the meal/snack was, will do.

HOW/WHERE: How means, were you sitting, standing, walking, etc… In general, sitting down will be optimum for building healthy eating habits. Where is about taking account of your location. Were you in front of the TV? At your work desk? Eating on the train commute to work?

FEELING BEFORE: Here is where you can register your emotions, or even physical sensations. Are you feeling anxious, frustrated, excited, stressed, hot and flustered, cold and shaky, sad, tired. Get as specific as you can on this one before you begin eating.

HUNGER & FULLNESS BEFORE: Here you can register on a scale of 0-10, how hungry or full you are. Click here for more details on how to use The Hunger & Fullness Scale.

SPEED: How fast you eat can be an indicator of many things including stress, and your likelihood of overeating. Rank your speed of eating on a scale of 1-10. 1 being the slowest possible, and 10 being lightspeed.

FEELING AFTER: Just like registering your feelings before, write down how you feel emotionally/physically, after the meal.

HUNGER & FULLNESS AFTER: Here you assess what your new number on the scale of satiety is after finishing your food.

TODAY’S INTENTION OR AFFIRMATION: This is great to set in the morning. What would you like to work on or improve on? Seeing your intention written down it in front of you on your journal, all day, can really help to fuel your momentum to stick to your change throughout the day.

SLEEP: Sleep can have dramatic effects on our appetite and eating habits. If you notice a poor day of eating coinciding with little sleep, you might consider prioritising your sleep hygiene before any major nutrition goals as it can often sort many of the food issues out naturally.

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: In general, the more active we are, the more of an appetite we will gain. Many people get tricked into thinking that they can immediately just move more and eat less, but more often than not it is the opposite. The more we move, the more considerate we start to become of what goes in, in terms of quality, and quantity. Exercise might require us to adjust things like protein intake, and don’t be surprised if you are still noticing a changed appetite a few days after exercising.

 

BEST PRACTICE:

You will get the most benefit from this journal by using it every time you eat. It can be very difficult, and often inaccurate to measure later-on, so in the moment is highly recommended for reliable data.

 

PREPARATION:

It will require you to print out, or draw out your own version, for multiple days. I recommend printing out at least 20-30 at a time so that you don’t fall into the trap of running out, or not having one with you. You can stock them everywhere where you would normally eat. Think strategically like your office desk, in your kitchen, your handbag, your wallet. Wherever you can manage to keep them easily accessible.

 

HOW TO INTERPRET ALL OF THE DATA THAT YOU WILL COLLECT?:

There are no right and wrong entries that you can make, but learning to identify your habits is what will be incremental in helping you to break them, and set new ones. I therefore recommend that you review your last day’s eating in the morning when you are fresh, and have the whole day ahead of you. That way you can adjust any parts of your previous days.

I also recommend not trying to change everything at once. You might notice for example that you eat a greasy breakfast, quickly as you walk to work, and that you feel a bit sick afterwards. The ideal situation would of course be to sit down, take your time, and enjoy something that nourishes you, while still giving you pleasure, and the much needed energy to start your day. However, in a practical world, making too many changes at once might be a little overwhelming to your system which could potentially put you off, and so you might just start with a small change, like switching the breakfast to something a little more wholesome, and dealing with the rest of the criteria once you’ve ingrained that habit.

Again, it’s your choice. Go as fast or as slow as you like in making changes, but remember that real progress takes time.

 

THIS IS NOT A DIET:

If you are unsuccessful at any point at filling this out, then don’t fret. The point of this journal isn’t to make you feel worse if you are not able to do it. It is to challenge and interrupt your habits so that you can start to consider new ones.

A common pitfall is thinking that if you miss the before section, then you shouldn’t do the after section, but this shouldn’t be the case. Just pick up wherever you find yourself, and go from there.

 

HOW LONG SHOULD YOU DO IT FOR?:

Remember that this is a tool for awareness. There is no set time. You are ideally looking to break some powerful habits, and identifying them might take time. Some patterns emerge in days, and others can take weeks, or months. Simply the habit of just filling in this journal is big enough for most people. Be kind and patient with yourself if you stop, or take a pause. This can be a life changing tool if you can find some consistency, and also taking some time to reflect on the data you collect.

 

WHY PAPER AND NOT DIGITALLY?:

Tracking apps make things easy to log, and record, and there’s nothing against them, however our aim here is to create real, long lasting results, and to do that we need to put a little effort in. Writing things down requires a deeper cognitive functioning over typing, and so this journal helps us to interpret and learn far better than if we are in an automated role of just using our phones even more.

Not to mention that over time you will have collected a series of paper that you can look on at the same time, and cross-compare the data far more succinctly than any electronic device can currently offer us.