What do you see on the streets and in your family around you? Fit, healthy, energetic bodies? People being in great mood all the time and getting on with their lives in a very energetic manner? Where do you see yourself in 10-20-30-50 years' time?
Do you watch what you put on your fork? Do you know exactly what and how much you put in your mouth?
You would be most surprised to know that on an average we eat approximately 200 calories more daily than we think we do. That is 73,000 calories extra a year! No wonder we are putting on weight and we are becoming bigger, fatter, sicker and less fit! We are overfed but malnourished. We eat a lot but our food is lacking the nutrition due to many different reasons.
Most people have the right intention of eating well. Somewhere deep down we all know that we need to eat lots of fresh and best quality fruits and vegetables in great varieties that we can get. However, advertisements, the aisles of supermarkets, convenience and our out of balanced bodies with irrational cravings impair our better judgement. We think it's OK to be 'naughty' occasionally that it won't have consequences. How wrong we are!
When you go to see a dietitian and a nutritionist to work with you on improving your diet and dealing with certain health issues the first thing they ask you is to write a food diary. Anyone, who would take you by your word without making you write a food diary is delusional.
A food journal is not easy, especially not with our busy lifestyle. However, you can have a small one in your handbag. If you have an IPad, IPhone or other electronic device, there are plenty of great applications that will help you make this task easy. You can even add photos, pictures of your meals to make it more interesting!
Staring a food journal has lot of benefits. Many that you would not even expect! Being fully responsible to yourself about your plate and what you put in your mouth is the most important. Just by writing down what you eat makes you face the music!
There is one warning. When we don't write down write away what we eat, looking back and trying to remember does not work! Most people tend to forget and what's most important, make things look better than they were!!!!! So be honest and do it right away.
Here are a few ideas on how to write your food journal:
1. Keep record of your meals and snacks
Write down the main food items and ingredients of your meals and snacks for the day. When and what drink (water, soft drink or alcohol for example) you had before, during or after the meal. This can be very important from weight loss and digestion point of view. Introduce a quick system to make notes for the portion size of your meals and snacks (1-2-3 for small, medium or large). Add a few extra columns for different comments in your journal next to your meals.
2. Make note on where you purchased your food
Eating out, having a take away or a fast food meal have huge influence on your health and weight issues. Not to mention your budget! So please add some notes on where you bought your meal and even how much you spent on it. Home cooked meal will be always cheaper and more nutritious once you get your head around the basics.
3. Eating like a horse :)
Some people are constantly on the run. They eat in the office at their desk, eat standing on the street, at home in the kitchen or even eat in the car while driving. Set the table and sit down to eat. Even if you live alone. If you have family, introduce that no body leaves the table while the last person has not finished the meal. At first there might be some family members protesting and fidgeting but if you are persistent, people will relax into this situation. Family meal becomes a nice, relaxed and fun time where stories of the day will be shared and lots of laughter accompanies the delicious food that being served. Ban phone calls, mobile phones, electronic devices, TV and music during meal times.
4. Chewing and tasting
Your heard it enough. Chew your food properly. Make sure that you prepare the food in your mouth for further digestion by chewing it and mixing it with saliva. Keeping the food longer in your mouth chewing it has another benefit. Many of the nutrients can get to your system through the tissues of your mouth. Teach yourself enjoying and appreciating food more. When you are relaxing, put a piece of date, prone, raisin or even a small piece of chocolate in your moth. Don't chew it, don't swallow it. Just keep it in your mouth and let it dissolve. Enjoy the sensation. Do this every day. Teach yourself the sensation and experience of tasting. Do it with a variety of food and drinks. Become a real gourmet person! Learn to appreciate your food and drink.
5. How do you feel?
Write down how you felt before meal and how that changed after meal. Take note of your mood (happy, active, lethargic) and energy level changes during the day (1-10 point system will be perfect). These things very much dependent on what you eat at each meal. Soon you will realize what food to eat and what others no to eat to stay awake and energetic during the day!
6. How much exercise?
Add a column and record every time you exercise. Record what exercise you did and for how long. Make notes later how that exercise session made you feel after exercise.
7. Sleeping and resting
Write down how well you slept at night and how refreshed you woke up in the morning. Introduce a simple system to qualify your night rest. Good night sleep (GNS) or restless sleep (RS) for example.
8. Sexual life
Notice changes in your sexual energies and activities and take notes. Improved sexual life increases your and your partner's satisfaction and general happiness.
9. Your body responding
Nobody knows your body better than you. Observe little changes and take notes daily. Your skin, your hair and nails will respond to positive changes in your diet. And as women, our most sensitive system, the reproductive system responds to everything. Make sure that you observe the changes in your period. Unfortunately, that takes much longer time, as we only have periods monthly. This really points out that any positive changes in your diet and lifestyle will not show right away. Your body needs time to work with the new way of operating. Your cells start discarding toxins as a first step after introducing positive changes. It can have at first even negative symptoms before your cells do the 'house cleaning'! Then they start regenerating. These changes can take any length of time, depending on the capability of your body to rejuvenate, on the condition, of your organs and level of health you enjoy but most importantly, on your level of commitment to change. Be patient. Your body is a magnificent system. Treat it well.
I could give you lots of advices from my own experience what to eat and what not to eat. Nothing competes with fresh vegetable juicing to reduce calories and increase nutrition. The most natural food that you can eat are fruits and vegetables. Supplements, but only the ones that are 100% natural, are absolutely crucial to look after yourself, loose or control weight and improve or maintain health. If you are on the anti-aging path, 100% natural dietary supplement is a MUST.
However, I believe the greatest gain of writing a food journal is your OWN OBSERVATION. The things that YOU LEARN through this personal process. Nobody else can do this for you and instead of you. Otherwise you forget, don't take on board and won't become a long term habit leading to a lifestyle. Long term health and long term weight maintenance requires long term changes that become part of your lifestyle.
Many people try food diaries but fail to complete them. If that is the case, you are more in need of dietary changes than you think. Try it a few times and if still won't happen, seek the help of a nutritionist or a dietitian.
Believe me, it is a most worthwhile experience. Writing a food journal will teach you about food, about your own habits, your body clock, your mood and energy changes. Just by monitoring your daily meals through your journal will motivate you and help you to make better choices. Even your finances will improve as you realize how much money you spend eating out or on take away!
Make sure your weigh and measure yourself on Day 1 of starting your food journal and insert a photo of yourself into it! Set goals regarding what you want to achieve and improve by writing your food journal. A week journal is a good start but if you could keep it up for a month or more, it will give you a much more realistic picture of what is going on in your life!
Good luck and look forward to reading your achievements here in the comment section!
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