The Benefits of Keeping a Food Journal
If you’ve participated in the CHI Health Weight Management program, you know that we devote a lot of time and commitment to assisting our patients with weight loss in our clinic. Our focus is on helping our patients understand their body and its needs. Sometimes this can be a struggle for some in the beginning, but with dedication and focus, it does become easier.
With that in mind, let’s look at food journaling, which is a great tool to use when wanting to achieve weight loss.
What is Food Journaling?
Food journaling helps you to track what you are eating. It can help you identify eating patterns and habits as well as identifying the amounts and types of foods you’re eating on a routine basis. Research has shown that keeping a food journal can be an effective tool to help change behaviors, especially when you’re struggling to lose weight.
What Should You Track in Your Food Journal?
- Everything you’re eating! Be specific when logging foods and beverages consumed. Make sure to include any dressings, sauces, condiments and how the food was prepared (fried, baked, broiled, etc.).
- Amounts you’re eating. Portion sizes (teaspoons, tablespoons, cups, ounces, etc.).
- Times you’re eating. Don’t forget to include snack times.
Some other important things to track are where you’re eating, who you’re eating with, what you’re doing when eating, and how you’re feeling while eating. These things can help bring awareness to your eating habits and offer additional insight.
You’ve Been Tracking Your Food. Now What?
Once you have a week’s worth of logging in your food journal, you will want to review your entries to see if you notice any patterns, trends and areas for improvement. Some things you will want to consider are:
- How healthy is your diet?
- How much protein are you consuming in a day?
- How many servings of vegetables do you eat in a day? Are they starchy vegetables (corn, potatoes, peas) or non-starchy vegetables (broccoli, green beans, asparagus)?
- Are you eating foods or beverages with added sugar? How much and how often?
- Are you eating on the run or mindless eating (eating when stressed, sad, happy, angry, etc.)?
Setting SMART Goals for Healthy Eating
After identifying any patterns or trends and areas for improvement, you will want to set some healthy eating goals for yourself. We usually recommend one or two goals using the SMART goal format (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-based). Here are some examples:
Food Journal Finding: You drink 1 bottle of water a day.
Goal: Drink more water.
SMART Goal: Drink 64 oz. of water per day.
Food Journal Finding: You eat one serving of vegetables on most days.
Goal: Eat more non-starchy vegetables
SMART Goal: Eat two servings of non-starchy vegetables a day.
All in all, food journaling is beneficial because it creates some self-awareness around your eating habits and keeps you on track towards your weight loss goals.
Reach out to CHI Health Weight Management team if you’re ready to take your first steps towards a healthier life. We offer a free Smartphone Tracking App which will allow you to track your nutrition, set goals, and much more.
Bridget joined the CHI Health Weight Management Team in February of 2022. She has 31 years of nursing experience working in a variety of settings, including medical surgical, postpartum/labor & delivery, adult & child psychiatric nursing, and home care. She graduated from College of Saint Mary with an Associate Degree Nursing and received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from WGU. Bridget enjoys helping patients maneuver through the weight management program and working with them to get insurance approval. Her passions include going for long walks with her dogs, reading, and spending time with her family.