If you are serious about working out then there is a good chance you already track your workouts. Well why not take things up a notch and also start tracking the foods you are putting in your body?
Yes it’s an extra step that will take you a few extra minutes, but when done consistently it will help you change your habits for the better.
In 2008 Kaiser Permanente did a study on 1,700 individuals. The study found that those who kept a food journal where able to lose twice as much weight as those who did not. Just think about that for one second.
If you could lose twice as much weight for simply writing down what you ate would you give it a try? Of course you would!
Here are 4 ways keeping a food journal can help you reach your fitness goals by Ryan Boos of Pinehurst Fitness Center and Gym Eau Claire WI:
#1 – It Makes You More Aware
Self awareness is the first step to changing anything. Most of us just eat and don’t really think about what we are eating. We may eat one healthy meal and 5 unhealthy meals.
But since we aren’t keeping track of it we don’t really realize it. When you keep a food journey you will be more aware of exactly what you are putting in your body.
You will be able to see all the good and bad choices you are making throughout the day. Sometimes becoming more aware of what you are eating is enough to help you make better choices.
#2 – It Holds You Accountable
When you know that you will have to write down everything you eat, it makes you think twice about eating certain foods. And while writing everything down won’t make your cravings go away, it will act as an accountability buddy that helps you make better food choices.
Please note keeping a food journal does not mean you can’t enjoy your favorite foods. It means you are more conscience of how much you are putting in your body so you won’t ruin your results.
#3 – It Will Show You Nutrition Gaps
If I asked you if you are currently getting enough protein in your diet what would your answer be? Chances are it would be “I don’t know”. And this is all because you are not writing down what you are eating.
Most people have gaps in their nutrition and don’t even realize it. Using a food journal will help you quickly identify any nutritional gaps so you can address them head on. Once your diet is on the right track you will be surprised how quickly you get results.
#4 – It Will Clearly Highlight The Connection Between Diet and Performance
The foods you eat play a major role in how you perform during your workouts and throughout the day. Ignoring the vital role it plays is ignorant and can prevent you from reaching your fitness goals.
There are some foods that will make you feel lousy during a workout. There are also foods that give you a ton of energy and make you feel great during a workout. Keeping a food journal will make it easy to identify those foods.
Once you are able to see the connection between what you are eating and how you are performing, you’ll make an effort everyday to eat the right foods.
Keeping An Effective Food Journal
When it comes to getting the most out of your food journal, the key is to avoid getting too detailed. You don’t want this to turn into a task you dread doing. All you need to write down is the food you ate, and how much of it you ate. The goal is to get a general idea of what you are putting in your body.
Another important tip is to also write down why you are eating. It may sound crazy, but sometimes we eat for no other reason than pure boredom. In some cases you may be eating because you are stressed out.
Recognizing why you are eating will help you cut down on unnecessary calories. When you realize you are eating because of stress or boredom you will be less likely to do it.
Writing down where you are when you eat matters as well. Your environment plays a huge role in how you eat and when you eat.