I understand the benefits of keeping a food journal, but I’ll admit I’ve always hated counting calories. If I want to eat a donut from the break room, I don’t want to think about how many calories are in it. Because it’s not on the side of the box.
And I don’t have to know how many calories are in it to know that I shouldn’t eat it. But I eat it anyway.
Then I can’t put it in my food journal because I don’t know how many calories it has. So I skip it, then wonder why my food diary doesn’t match my tight pants.
But here’s a newsflash:
You don’t have to count calories to get the benefits of a food journal!
There are many studies that show tracking our food can help us be healthier. Here are five of my favorite ways food journaling makes us healthier (without counting calories).
1. Help you lose weight
There’s no denying the scientific studies showing people who track their food lose more weight than people who don’t . And for those of us who are carrying extra weight, even small weight loss can lower our risk for certain diseases. The great thing is that food journaling can help weight loss by helping you limit calories, but also just by helping you be more attentive to what you are eating. Remembering what you ate earlier in the day may help you eat less at later meals . That sounds simple enough to me!
2. Increase personal accountability
The truth is you are the only one who decides what you eat. Tracking your food with a food journal helps you be honest with yourself instead of letting yourself forget. Forgetting what we eat happens a lot more than we realize, which can cause us to eat more or make unhealthy choices more often. Keeping a food journal can help us avoid this trap.
3. Find your food triggers
Most of us suffer some uncomfortable side effects from eating, from seemingly harmless symptoms such as bloating and gas to more extreme symptoms such as allergies or migraines. While some allergies are very obvious (if you have a peanut allergy, you probably know it), other effects can be very subtle. Keeping track of what you eat can help you notice patterns and triggers so you can avoid them and be healthier.
4. Find your emotional triggers
Many people turn to food when they feel certain emotions. I am totally guilty of emotional (and mindless) eating. My biggest emotional trigger is overwhelm. Others eat when feeling sadness, anger, confusion, or boredom (another big one for me). Emotional eating often means binge eating, which is uncomfortable in the short run and very unhealthy in the long run. Keeping a food journal can help you find the connections between your moods and what or how much you eat.
5. Motivate you to reach your goals
There’s nothing like seeing progress to make you feel good about your goals and motivate you to push yourself harder. Keeping a food journal can show you how far you’ve come on your health journey. Journaling can help you set small daily goals that add up to big results.
Being able to see progress toward my daily goals is one of the biggest benefits of food journaling for me. So much, in fact, that I have a special section in my food journal to write my daily goals at the beginning of the day so I can benefit from greater focus. You can download my personal Bite Me Food Journal to start realizing the benefits for yourself!
There are so many other ways keeping a food journal is healthy for our bodies and our minds. The only way you can find out how journaling will work for you is to try it! Download the Bite Me Food Journal today and give it a try. Let me know in the comments if you find the journal useful!