Any busy mom that has successfully lost weight has discovered the ultimate secret weapon to shedding those unwanted pounds. Something that will keep you accountable. It will also show you patterns in how you eat, when you eat and the reason why you’re eating.
What is this magical thing busy moms have discovered?
A food journal. Wait before you roll your eyes and think you don’t have the time – find out why this one thing can help you. You’ll be able to shed that fat faster and get rid of the unwanted pounds that you just can’t seem to lose no matter what.
Reason #1 – Exhibit More Self Control and Eat Less
A journal keeps track of what you’ve eaten. This helps in the middle of the day when you realize you haven’t eaten all day. Usually you’d eat a meal and add way more calories because you are now starving. But since you’ve been journaling you know this pattern and eat a breakfast in the morning. So, you don’t add those unwanted calories.
Plus, since you are a busy mom, sometimes the time it will take to record what you’re eating will be enough incentive to keep you from eating something out of convenience.
Reason #2 – Accountability
Being accountable for what you eat, will help motivate you to eat healthier.
Knowing you have to write down the calories for a cupcake or a soda is enough deterrent to not eat or drink those two options. You will eat less and make healthier choices because you know you’ll have to record it.
Reason #3 – Records Vital Information
With a food journal you don’t just record calories. You’ll record other information like the time you ate, why you ate, how hungry you were feeling and what your reactions to that food were afterwards.
You’ll learn if you eat more during certain times of the day. Or maybe you eat because you are watching TV. You might realize patterns (like if you skip breakfast you snack twice as much after dinner). Being aware of when you eat and if you are actually hungry while you are eating will help you change the behavior. You’ll be able to find a hobby to do instead.
Recording how you feel after each meal is a great motivator. If you record that you had a huge energy boost after you eat an apple or protein bar you’ll be more encourage eating more of those foods.
Whereas if you eat a bag of chips and don’t feel like doing anything after or are irritable you are more likely to avoid junk food. Being aware of your reactions is half of the battle.
If you are still skeptical about whether or not a food journal is the answer to your weight problems, consider this: Busy moms gain weight for a variety of reason – you overeat from stress, you don’t eat in the morning and then eat too many calories when you do grab a bite. You don’t notice how much you eat during meals or snacks. Just like we underestimate how much we spend until we sit down to track our budgets, we also tend to underestimate how much we eat.
A food journal helps you see in black and white exactly what your healthy eating challenges are. With a food journal you’ll be able to manage or eliminate all of these challenges.
How Do I Keep a Food Journal?
Start writing it down! There are no hard and fast rules about food journaling. The simple act of recording what you eat will make a big difference. You can track it on a calendar, in a plain notebook, in an app (I like MyFitnessPal and LoseIt since they have calorie information and a social network component), or in a store-bought food journal like one of these:
You can even just text or e-mail your eating info to a buddy so you can encourage each other and hold each other accountable.
I’ve used all 5 of these food journaling techniques and they are all equally effective. If you do better with peer pressure, choose one of the apps that lets you link up to friends or find a friend (or group of friends) to swap texts/e-mails with. The calendar on the fridge works well for those who don’t mind everyone in the family seeing what you’ve been eating (as a mom, this also encourages you to eat well to set a good example for your kids).
In other words, it doesn’t matter how you track what you eat, it only matters that you do it. Trust me, if you do it, it will work!