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Surprisingly, I’m Obsessed With Food Journaling

“New year, new me” vibes got me on track with starting a new habit. We are already in February, but I decided to track my food intake and write it down at the beginning of January. It was time for me to take actions that spoke louder than “I wish I were eating better.” Instead of just complaining about my weight and body, I took steps to improve my overall health. 

I decided to start using a food diary as a helpful tool for my healthy 2022 me. Research shows that keeping a journal can be an effective tool to help change behavior for people interested in losing weight. In one weight loss study of nearly 1,700 participants, those who kept daily food records lost twice as much weight as those who kept no records.

Food journaling can arguably be both a good and a bad thing. I had a conversation with my friend the other day. She is against the idea of food journaling because she fears this habit will turn into an unhealthy obsession, resulting in her hating food and feeling exhausted, but to each their own. Unlike her, I love it!

According to Nutrition.org, food journaling: 

● Can help you remember what you have eaten that day

● Helps with calorie tracking because you can see where you can improve if you try to achieve a goal

● Will let you see if you are eating too much or not enough

● Will let you see what time of day you typically get hungry and help you adjust your eating schedule

● Can help you realize if you are eating out of boredom rather than hunger 

Food journaling got me into the habit of asking myself, “Why am I eating this?”, “Am I hungry or just bored?” and “Would an apple with a drizzle of honey be better than a cookie?” It made me get in touch with my conscious self as I write down food items I consume over the day. Keeping track of every meal wasn’t just about the calorie intake but also making sure I was eating enough of each food group, such as carbs, protein, fats and fiber/veggies. It helped me learn more about macronutrients and micronutrients. According to Healthline, “Macronutrients are big pictures nutrition categories, such as carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Micronutrients are smaller nutritional categories, such as individual vitamins and minerals like calcium, zinc and vitamin B-6.”

I wanted to dive deeper into my self-consciousness to identify the triggers to my unhealthy eating habits. I realized that I eat almost 60-percent of the time because I’m stressed, not because I’m hungry. I also realized that excess sugar slowed down how my brain functions for some reason. Using a food diary helped me understand myself a bit more. 

There are many ways you can jot down your food. Here is a free food tracker pdf from the CDC website here. You can also use the MyFitnessPal app. It is a dope app, to be honest. You get to look up food already on their database with a breakdown of calories and nutrients, compare serving sizes and discover how the food you eat supports your goals. You can also literally type on Google “food journals,” and there are a ton of great options. 

I held myself accountable for the food I ate between me, myself and I. I understand that may be daunting for many, and the food journaling strategy isn’t built for everyone. 

Just stay healthy and love your body no matter what! 

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Hanya is an Integrated Marketing Communication graduate student. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Advertising and minored in Entrepreneurship at Florida State University. She is an iced coffee type of gal, and you will always find her holding one. She binge watches Netflix, Tiktok, and random YouTube videos. She is passionate about everything advertising-related and is a media enthusiast.
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