Can food journaling help you lose weight?

nutrition diary

Keeping a food journal can help you track patterns of emotional eating. (pic: istockphoto.com/nndrin)

Anyone who keeps a journal knows that writing your thoughts and feelings down every day can help identify patterns in your emotions. The daily act of journaling can be healing because it’s an outlet for what’s pent up inside. And it can help you come to terms with difficult events in your life.

Journaling is also proving to be a tool to help you make seismic changes in behaviour. A self-confessed ’emotional eater’ in the US, Charmaine Jackson, has revealed that daily food journaling helped her shed half of her body weight. You can read her full story on CNN. She meticulously recorded everything she ate and drank – and what her mood was like – over five years and 14 journals. She noted she would turn to food when she felt stressed or wanted to cheer herself up, and she would mindlessly munch on junk food while watching TV. “The food journal was my truth serum,” says Charmaine. “It made me be honest with myself.”

Charmaine combined food journaling with exercise and advice from a dietician. But we can see from Charmaine’s story that a food journal has these benefits:

  • You become aware of your eating patterns and bad habits.
  • You can track the emotional reasons behind what and when you eat.
  • It can make you more mindful about eating.
  • It encourages you to take responsibility for what you’re eating.
  • You can feel empowered to make meaningful and lasting changes.

So, instead of tucking into a family pack of crisps next time you’re watching a movie on the sofa, why not reach for pen and paper instead?

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