Finding What Works for You: Thoughts on Food Journals


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.

All 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?

2 responses to “Finding What Works for You: Thoughts on Food Journals”

  1. 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. 🙁

  2. 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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About the Author

Marsha Hudnall, MS, RDN, CD

If you’re looking for an embodiment of dedication disguised as obsession, look no further. Marsha is a registered dietitian who has spent the last four decades working to help women give up dieting rules and understand how to truly take care of themselves. Her mission in life is to help women learn to enjoy eating and living well, without worries about their weight. She encourages women to embrace their love of food, which you might call being a foodie. If so, it’s appropriate because being a foodie means you pay attention when you eat. That’s a recipe made in heaven for eating well. Marsha is the President and Co-Owner of Green Mountain at Fox Run.

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