Surprising Things You Learn By Keeping A Food Journal
Food journals aren’t just for people who are required by their doctors to lose weight. They aren’t just for diabetics or for people who are monitoring certain conditions. And no—they aren’t only for women battling with eating disorders.
Keeping a food journal can teach you a lot about your body and mind. It can even teach you about your life and non-food-related habits. Since many cultures believe that some major chronic illnesses can be cured through diet alone, it could be worth paying closer attention to what you eat. You may think you know what you put in your body each day, but we all do some mindless eating. The days and weeks blur together, and you may not realize that you eat one food five times a week or your indigestion is related to one particular item. Have you been feeling tired? Moody? Have you gained weight? Maybe a certain food is part of the problem. Here are 15 surprising things you can learn from keeping a food journal.
You eat out more than you thought
You never understood before how your groceries kept going bad. Now that you keep a food journal, you realize that you eat at restaurants more than you thought, leaving the chicken you planned on having for dinner to rot.
You hit the snack cabinet more than you thought
You used to brag about barely hitting up the free snacks at work. But since you’ve had to jot it time each time you leave your desk to grab pretzels, you’ve become very humble.
Sometimes you wait too long to eat
You knew you left the house with the intention of eating something before lunch (like, you know, breakfast). But your food journal shows you usually have your first piece of food at noon.
Calories are not what you thought
You thought that handful of chips only had, like, 25 calories. Now that you have to look at the nutrition info, count your chips, and add it up, you realize you were very, very wrong.
This food causes cravings
Your food journal shows that every time you get Pho from that one noodle spot, you always end up eating again two hours after dinner. And you don’t eat healthy stuff, either.
This food always makes you too full
On the nights that you have food X for dinner, you’re not hungry again until the late afternoon the next day. Maybe that food is much heavier than you thought.
You are a nighttime snacker
You used to say you’re not a nighttime snacker. But your food journal shows that you actually do have a few pieces of chocolate, and a couple of spoons of peanut butter, and a handful of chips every night.
And a mindless snacker
Now that you need to interrupt what you’re doing to write down what you’re eating, you realize that you have to interrupt yourself a lot—you’re a mindless snacker! You didn’t realize that you snack every time you’re on the phone.
You didn’t understand serving sizes
You finally have to get things like measuring spoons, measuring cups and food scales and you see that what you thought was a cup of yogurt has been three cups all along. That’s a big miscalculation.
You don’t get enough of a certain nutrient
You could have sworn that you ate plenty of protein, but now that you understand serving sizes, you see that you’re falling short. That tiny handful of shredded chicken on your salad and the cup of lentils at night isn’t cutting it.
You eat more when you’re with friends
You never realized before how much you indulge when you’re with friends. When you grab lunch with your co-worker, you eat twice as many calories as when you eat lunch by yourself.
Certain interactions make you hungry
Perhaps talking to your boss or your mother causes you to stress eat. Whatever the reason, you see a big surge in snacking after interacting with these people.
Certain interactions make you lose your appetite
You also see that you skip dinner after interacting with other people. You may have thought you were okay with one acquaintance, but it’s clear he makes you lose your appetite.
Somebody is a bad influence
Hmmm. Somehow every drinks date you make with that one friend ends in a pizza date that ends in an ice cream date that ends in a…fast food run?! Yikes.
People are judgmental
People will stare when you write in your food journal. They’ll think you have obsessive compulsive disorder, or body image issues. Sometimes they’ll grow impatient because they want to start eating, but they’re waiting for you to write down calories.