Keeping a food log can be uncomfortable. Whatever goes down the hatch, goes on the paper. There’s nowhere to fudge (hide), you’re either keeping one or you’re not. (Eeek!)
Writing things down makes them more real. The food has been eaten. The reality is you chose it. The food isn’t good or bad and neither are you. It’s information to help you see what’s created the results you’re living now and a tool to help you decide what needs to change! Many times when coaching clients, there is that oh yeah… I forgot that we went for ice cream or I guess I did have more than I realized…
If you’re ready to make a move and want to know your first best step to releasing extra weight, it’s committing to this one thing. It’s the quickest way to get to the truth about your eating and snacking routines. (There are other important things to explore that influence your eating story, but this one is tangible and a great place to start.) Although I don’t encourage fast weight loss, this tip reminds me of the phrase slow down to go fast. I’m inviting you to take your whole first week to observe so you can better set yourself up for the long run. Think of it as the thing before the thing.
Start with this:weight loss weight loss weight loss food journal food log food journal
For 1 week, just write down everything you eat. That’s it. (If this is effortless for you, you can add extra notes about what time you ate, who you were with, how you felt before, during, and after, etc.) You may be tempted to eat differently because you’re recording it, but try to eat as much like you’ve been eating as possible; it will give you the truest story.
E v e r y t h i n g is the keyword! The french fry off your hubby’s plate, the piece of chocolate from your co-workers’ candy dish, or that small glass of wine at the open house. This is about awareness and gathering information that can help you create your eating guideposts. Make the decision to get honest and leave no room for accidental oversights so you get as much data as you can (think science).
No judgment allowed, it messes everything up. Your only job is to keep track and observe your choices just like you would do for a friend.
Keep these things in mind to keep you going: Release weight release weight release weight
1. It’s you, your food, a notebook, and a pen. Not that scary unless we put a story to it, right?
2. Think of it as an experiment, experiments can’t fail.
3. When resistance pops up, ask yourself what’s the worst thing that could happen if I write it down? and keep going.
At the end of the week, do some reflecting. Look for answers that can help you move forward.
What am I glad I ate?
Which foods took away my energy?
Which foods gave me energy?
When I ate _________________________________ I regretted it because ________________________________________.
The foods I know I want to cut back on in order to release weight are:
Some foods I know I could bring in for better results are:
The times of day I’m hungriest;
The people I enjoy eating treats with are:
The restaurants that have the kind of foods I want to choose more often are________________________.
I remember when I ate___________________, I craved more of it later.
Tracking my food helped me in these ways:
Finish up with this, I promise it’s powerful.
*Add additional notes after you’ve taken time to thoroughly answer the questions above. Do a brain dump with any additional thoughts and ideas that come to you about the whole week prior. What would the super clear version of you conclude from your 1-week experiment?
*After answering the above questions at the end of your week of tracking, and looking at your brain dump, you should have a simple place to start. What foods will serve you best? How would you coach this person to change her eating in order to release weight??? Start with using the information you’ve gathered + the smarts you already have!
*Decide what you will change for the new week. Will it be cutting portion sizes a bit? Changing your snacks? Not eating after dinner? Replacing the office donut with a piece of fruit? Loading up on some colorful veggies and throwing them on the grill with some lean protein?
*Pick one or two things to start out with and resist the all-or-nothing thinking.
*Take action right away by transferring your promises to your grocery list and calendar. The idea is to get consistent with small actions, stack your wins, and use the momentum you’ll get from it to take you to the next level (when you’re ready).
*Other ways to log easily: notes in your iPhone, voice memos in your iPhone, or take pictures of your food. (Everyone has time for one of these things!)
*After your initial self-assessment, you can keep journaling the way you’ve been doing it, or look for food tracking apps that can help you gamify your journey! Just be sure that you don’t let not understanding how the app works to slow you down. SIMPLE WORKS BEST.
This is a strong starting point if you’re ready to shed some unwanted weight. If you get really good at observing and tweaking as you go, you could give up ever looking for another diet again. Just imagine the simplicity and ease if you start with the intention of changing behaviors with information pertinent to you, and figuring it out as you go (relaxed faith). You’ll be building momentum which gets you more excited. The more excited you get, the more curious you’ll be. Then… maybe you’ll be looking into more of the nutrition details because you want to and not because someone is telling you you should. This is when life gets easier!
Slow and steady wins the race.
I’m in your corner! Please reach out if you have an interest in losing weight and are tired of dieting!