Why You Should Keep A Food Log (Part One) – Gaining Self Awareness

Let’s play a memory game.

Can you recall everything you ate & drank in the past week?

Get yourself a pen & paper and write it all down…..

What did you come up with?

Chances are, most of you will remember your breakfast (same each day I am guessing.

Perhaps your ritual grande quad, non-fat one pump, no whip, mocha coffee?

Maybe you will remember that takeaway burger & chips, that leftover small chocolate bar from Christmas, or even that one healthy meal you made that night.

But what about all the other meals, sneaky snacks, drinks?

Do you remember how much of it you ate?

What you were doing at the time?

What the actual time was?

Unless you are some sort of memory world champion master, only by having a food log you could provide a hard objective record of what you truly ate & had to drink.

If you want to improve something, you need to track your progress.

So today I want to introduce you (or refresh you) to the importance of DAILY Food logging.

And how it can help you:

  1. Build Self- awareness
  2. Understand your sources of calories
  3. Learn how to control/manage calories
  4. Learn more about portion control
  5. Identify situations where you slip

Ultimately leading you to….

1. Make better choices
2. Gain greater self awareness & respect to food
3. Experience increased energy levels
4. Perform better both inside & outside the gym
5. Stay accountable for your actions

 

So yeah, it is safe to say that this is pretty powerful.

 

However, we’ve got some ground to cover, so this will be part one of two

Where I will touch on the value of food logs

And how it will help you build

SELF-AWARENESS &

REVEAL GAPS IN YOUR NUTRITION

I will also go into

HOW TO START A FOOD LOG

Part two I will dive more into how to use this information you gather from food logs

To help troubleshoot areas (where the real benefits come into play)


So let’s kick off with the first reason why you should keep a food log


1. Increases Self Awareness

It will give you INSIGHT to what you ARE/AREN’T eating

If you aren’t aware of your shortcomings

At least you can be aware of it now through a food log

And that’s half the battle

It takes the guesswork out of the equation

There is no denying what you ate & how much you had

It is what it is

Remember the point of tracking your food is not to judge or police yourself

It is to learn about yourself

Which is the first step towards adopting healthy changes that can stick

The immediate feedback will tell you

How your choices either accelerate or hinder your progress

From there you can break your larger goals into smaller, more manageable DAILY targets

This makes eating healthy almost like a strategy game (Your move)

You can also become more flexible about your eating habits

As well as increase your likelihood of Ability-to-Flex (sorry I had to say it)



Reveals Gaps In Your nutrition

Do you ever find energy sagging towards the end of the day?

Scenarios like this can often be traced back to dietary decisions

Yet your drop in energy levels is blamed on something else (work, stress, sleep deprivation)

But more often than not

It’s the poor dietary decisions catching up to you

Perhaps not enough protein for recovery, too many calories, not enough veggies & so forth

So why not give a little of your attention to what you are eating

And TRACK, TEST & ACCESS?

This will help you you ascertain whether you are meeting your targets everyday

And helps you stay up to date

Having a food log

Let’s you know where you can make STOPS or SWAPS

Making it serve as an ACCOUNTABILITY tool

Which will ultimately help you develop DISCIPLINE & CONSISTENCY

It will reveal how the the meals/snacks/drinks impact your average nutritional intake

You can then ADJUST your food choices & portion sizes accordingly to your goals

For example nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts etc)

Are indeed considered healthy, packed full of nutrient rich goodies

Such as healthy fats, good source of fibre,

Including several B vitamins, vitamin E,

Minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium,

Antioxidants (selenium, copper) blah blah blah….

But if you are taking in an extra 500 calories a day just by nibbling them

Thinking quality of food is all that matters when losing body fat

It will be difficult for you to get into a calorie deficit NECESSARY for fat loss

And most of the time the culprit is a small selection of foods

Another example is that coffee drink you might be picking up each day

It could sabotaging your entire day by packing close to 400 calories from fat & sugar

This one item could be easily changed by selecting a non fat or unsweetened version

Bringing your overall caloric intake to a manageable levels

But that also means taking ownership of less than ideal choices

‘The four beers & 5 slices of pizza you crushed to celebrate end of working week’

‘The handful of m&ms you mindlessly out ate watching Netflix’

‘That chocolate muffin & mars Bar you ate off Jenny’s desk’

‘The four cans of red bull you drank staying up late to finish off a project’

Put your mistakes into perspective

Then you can take action to correct this mistakes

And remember

Honesty is truly the best policy



3. How to start with a food log

If you have never done a food log

Now is the time to start

You don’t have to be great to start

But you do have to start in order to be great

You should be convinced to at least give it a go

Or at least improve on getting better at it

Follow this basic framework to kick you off

1. Record all food and liquids
2. Record all quantities consumed
3. Make small changes for long term success – will be explored in part two

Example

 

6am Breakfast/ 4 Whole Eggs 1 Cooked Cup Of Oatmeal, 1 Tb Peanut Butter

10am Snack 1/ 2 x 90g Can of Tuna (water-based) + 1 Apple

1pm Lunch/ 200g Chicken Breast + 1 Cup Basmati Rice + 1 Cup of Mixed Veggies

6pm Dinner/ 250g Salmon + 1 Cup Sweet potato + 2 Cups Mixed Veggies

Fluids: 4L of water + 1 x Coffee (nil sugar & milk)


And don’t wait until the end of the day to fill out your food log

You could forget or misremember some details

Write/enter food & drinks as you consume them (takes less time than a comment on Facebook)

Unacknowledged extras can add up quick! Trust me

Even make a quick audio recording of your food intake throughout the day

Then later that day login to an online food tracker

To record the details directly from your voice recorder

You can also go a step further

And tie in the connections to stress, emotion, timing & location when you eat

As a good food log will do more than just track food & portion sizes

If you record the time of the day & other activities that surround your eating habits

You may just identify a consistent pattern in your eating & create conscious awareness of the food you really eat

In fact most of us eat according to cravings, convenience & even mood

So why not record that as well

If you are up for it include the following as well:

Time of the day
Location
Type of activity
Emotional level

You’re welcome 🙂

That’s it for the first part of ‘Why you should keep a food log’

Stayed tuned for Part Two

Where I will go into HOW you can the most out of your Food logs

And troubleshoot common problems associated with adopting healthy eating habits

Get food tracking people

What you do in private

You will eventually wear in public!

If you like to discuss more on making a body transformation

Contact me

Dave@thebodyconsultants.com.au

Signing off

Dave ‘Food Log Specialist’ Buck