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Monday, October 17, 2011

The Power of Food Journaling

A common thread I see with all clients who have successfully transformed their bodies is a food journal. It is something I require of all new clients looking to change their body composition because I have seen first hand what an important tool it is for success.

Here are a few reasons why...

1) You don't truly realize what you're eating unless you put it on paper. You may make great choices for meals but maybe the candy bowl on your co-worker's desk has your name on it. Or maybe you make dinner for your kids and half of the ingredients also end up in your stomach. It may not seem like much but the little bits of food here and there can add an extra 300-600 calories to your day!

2) Knowing that you have to write it down will stop excess snacking or poor meal choices. But more than just writing it down is having to show it to someone. If you've already had your two cheat meals and that ice cream in the freezer is calling your name, knowing you have to report it might be all it takes to stop yourself.

3) It keeps your mind on track to your goal. This is important especially if you're in the process of creating new habits... or if you find yourself in a rut because you've been slacking a bit. It's far too easy to slip backwards if you're not thinking about the way you should be eating. Writing down your food choices before or after every meal serves as a constant reminder of your goals.

There are several fancy apps out there now for smart phones and iPads to journal your food. You could also use a free online program like I use this one frequently myself. And of course there is always the traditional route of pen and paper! Whatever you choose, be consistent with it. Don't skip a day and record EVERYTHING - both good and bad. Often times you may feel inclined not to include the bad. In order to truly make changes, you must face the music (aka the brownie you had after dinner) and know that tomorrow will be a better day.

Is it fun? No. Will you always feel like writing your food? Not at all. But it's one of those things that must be done if you're wanting to achieve your goals!

Ashley Brodeur
Personal Fitness Coach

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