Finding What Works for You: Thoughts on Food Journals

By Marsha Hudnall on 12/16/2009
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Robyn Priebe, RD, nutrition director at Green Mountain, is back today with a bit of a twist on my Monday post on listening to yourself.

Alarmed clockAll too often I see people respond to the same situation so differently.  For example, I frequently get questions about the benefit of food journaling.  Typically I do not recommend that someone journals her intake every day.  I find that more often than not, this can make people feel restricted or controlled.  And quite frankly, who has time for that every day?  However, on occasion I meet someone who raves about food journaling and the sense of accountability it gives her and how it’s helped her make better food choices over time.  So, for that particular person, it works.  For others, maybe not.

Perhaps the lesson to be learned is that some old habits that worked for us in the past are worth resurrecting.  At the same time, old habits that we believe should help improve our health or our eating habits, but have just never worked for us, may be worth letting go.  Not every “diet guideline” is bad, provided following that guideline has a positive outcome and we are not rigid about following it.  I might find that journaling every day makes me feel restricted, but journaling when I’m trying to assess the best way to improve my food choices feels totally different and supportive.

In the end, when considering resurrecting an old habit, ask yourself, “What was the outcome?”  If getting up at 5:00 AM to work out actually works for us and feels good, then do it.  If attempting to get up that early leads to hitting the snooze button for 2 hours straight until we drag ourselves out of bed feeling guilty and sleep deprived, then it’s not worth it.

What habits have helped you in the past that you think might be worth adopting again?

photo by clix

8 Responses (Add Yours)

  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by GreenMtnFoxRun, ichange. ichange said: Finding What Works for You: Thoughts on Food Journals http://bit.ly/8koXhY [...]

  • For me journaling absolutely is a must and I need to focus more on whole foods and kick the processed junk back where it belongs.
    .-= Trish @IamSucceeding’s last blog post..Liquid Gold =-.

  • Cindy says:

    Early morning exercise does not work for me no matter what the experts say about doing it then. I do better mid-morning or early evening. Daily food journaling also doesn’t seem to motivate me much. What does help is to make one meal plan list at the beginning of the week to serve as a suggestion for daily meals. I tend to do better if I eat close to the same thing every day, perhaps changing the source of protein or veggies from one day to another. The less I have to think about my choices the better I do.
    .-= Cindy’s last blog post..I Need to Care More =-.

  • Cindy says:

    I should also add that group exercise and dieting doesn’t work well for me. I’ve tried different things like Weight Watchers, exercise classes, walking with groups of friends, etc., but have discovered I’m a lone wolf in this area. Sometimes I think it would be nice to have someone to be accountable to and I’m still open to that should the right friend come along, but in the past it always seems to turn out to be a disappointment.
    .-= Cindy’s last blog post..I Need to Care More =-.

  • Sagan says:

    There have been times in the past when food journaling has worked for me. Other times, it hasn’t. Right now it’s working, so I’m doing it… I’m all for adapting what we do as our lifestyle changes!
    .-= Sagan’s last blog post..Attention Living Healthy in the Real World Readers! =-.

  • Marsha says:

    I’m not sure journaling has ever worked for me but I have seen plenty of people who it does work for. What does work for me sometimes is journaling my physical activity. I use a calendar and write down when I walk or do anything else. I think it just gives me a wake-up call when a week goes by with only a few entries. Although these days, my body is pretty good at giving me that wake-up call all by itself. I get achy when I don’t get enough physical activity. :(

  • Kerry says:

    Great topic! I find journaling helps me, but I do not write down every portion, just the time, food, and how I was feeling. My meal plans and weekend preparations for the week are critical, and I need to find time for this again.
    .-= Kerry’s last blog post..Cherry Chocolate Pecan Cookies =-.

  • Robyn, Excellent post! This really gets at focusing what works for you and listening to your body, instead of following a set of “shoulds.” I love that you encourage being flexible also!

    For many people, journaling about their food intake may be too restrictive and promote obsessiveness. I’m not a fan personally. Others may find great benefits.

    It’s just so refreshing to hear that it’s an individual thing, and if it doesn’t work for you, try something else. You’re sending a wonderful message with this post! Everyone is different, and you may have to experiment a bit. But if something doesn’t work for you, it doesn’t make you hopeless or a failure, which I know many often think.
    .-= Margarita Tartakovsky’s last blog post..An Effective Way to Help You End Emotional Eating =-.

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