I think food journaling is a great tool for some people, for “sometimes”.
I think most people cannot sustain a food journal for long periods of time without going completely CRAZY.
Certainly it could be a good tool to use once in a while, just to see how you are doing, but using it all of the time…well, it could be the cause of a lot of stress (not healthy), as it may dictate how you live your life.
Perhaps you may avoid going out with your friends or family to eat because you don’t know how many calories that restaurant’s lasagna contains, so you can’t properly track it in your food journal.
Also, let’s face it – it simply takes time and patience to write down everything.
Good nutrition is about having a sustainable lifestyle. And tracking every calorie you consume is not sustainable for long periods of time.
What I discovered for myself when I journaled my food, is that I did one of two things –
1. Obsessed over food ALL of the time and became a calorie nazi,
2. Made one mistake, and fell off the bandwagon. Hard.
I am going to try and address these two points, so that you may avoid repeating my mistakes (whether you are food journaling or not).
Obsessing over calories. Calories are NOT the end-all, be-all. It’s the TYPES of calories you consume that you should be more focused on – and you will find yourself to be much happier if you let your body decide how much to eat (provided you eat the right kinds of food). Obsessing over calories can lead to over-restricting calories as well, and you can do some real damage to your metabolism by starving yourself.
Falling off the bandwagon after one mistake. Don’t let this be you! We all wrestle with this struggle for perfection, but we must understand – perfection isn’t possible. We must learn that perfection should NOT be our goal. Feeling healthy should be our goal. One slip-up isn’t going to destroy all of your healthy eating accomplishments, so don’t act like you don’t care anymore. Not to say that having this resilience is easy, but it should be something we really pay attention to.
Food journaling is a tool to be used sometimes, by some people, for a quick check-up or reality check on what they consume on a regular basis. It shouldn’t be used by most people (unless, for some reason, you really enjoy it) for extended periods of time.
So here’s an alternative to tracking your food – let your body track your food for you. Listen to your body.
Until next time~