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Sunday, February 1, 2015

52 Small Changes - Week 4 - Keep A Food Journal

Late again, and I have such a good excuse:  a cold.  When I get a cold, I get a cough, and if I have a cough and laugh, well, the result is too much coughing.  See, when you laugh at your own hilarity every other minute, wellllll....  You can see why I would avoid writing.

'Cuz I'm hilarious.  You know?  A side-splitter.  Yes, indeedy.  Mkay.  Onward!
Tell me all of your foodie secrets, my friend!
Photo courtesy of l4red0
This one is going to HURT, people.  This is you, coming face-to-face with the reality of your intake.  Self-denial is real, and I think all of us, at one time or another, have wondered how in the heck we were gaining weight without giving a thought to those liquid calories or 'healthy' protein bars.

I've seen some protein bars with calories in the 300 range, and if you are limited to 1200 calories a day, that's a quarter of your total calories for the day.  For me, I'm just not satisfied for long after one of those.  I snarf it down, and then I'm, like...NEXT!

Basically, in order for this change to work, you have to document everything.  Don't omit the birthday cake you ate at work.  It counts.  Even if you only ate half a tiny cupcake, write it down.  With this, you are being accountable to YOU.  Why lie to yourself?  It's not healthy.

So, there will be more to it than just keeping track of food and drink.  Also included will be your appetite and your physical and emotional status.

Food and drink:  include EVERYTHING.  Write these down or use an app.  I use MyFitnessPal for this.  They have portion sizes and calorie counts for lots of things, but you might have to add some of your more obscure snacks.  Be sure to accurately assign portion size.  If you drink an entire 20 ounce soda, you'll have to be faced with the reality of having had 2.5 servings!  If it's a full-sugar soda, that's almost 400 calories.  *sad trombone*

Appetite:  This is you evaluating, on a scale from 0 to 5, your appetite.  If you are extremely hunger, put a 0 down.  If you are extremely full, put a 5 down.  Brett recommends to strive for staying within the 1-4 range.  I have been a 0 before and that's when I get a bag of fast 'whatever' because I'm too starved to go home and make something healthy.  I've been a 5 before, too, and that's just pure misery.  Remember when eating raw cookie dough was a thing?  I ate some after hiking for two weeks once and still, to this day, won't eat raw cookie dough.  It was a hard lesson in self-control and stomach shrinkage.

Physical and Emotional Status:  This one might be tough, for me, at least.  Yes, yes, sometimes I eat when I'm bored, but there are times when I eat because I smelled bacon.  It's my trigger.  Also, cinnamon rolls.  There's no need for a full sentence there.  Anywho, this is the how, why, what and when of food.  It's also the before, during and after of consumption.  Keep track of all of this information and you might find that you eat EVERY time you smell bacon or EVERY time you watch Doctor Who.  You might find a food allergy.  You might find you have no control at parties.  If you bought the book, there's a Food Journal Template in the back.
I love you, Cinnamon Rolls.
Photo courtesy of LuisSolis
Included in the book are some False Hunger Triggers (FHT).  These include:
-  Lack of Nutrient Balance (drop in blood sugar?)
-  Emotional Hunger (bored, fearful, stressed, lonely)
-  Hunger Due to Sleepiness
-  Hunger Due to Thirst
Keeping this journal may help you identify times when FHTs hit and you can deal with them before attacking a bag of marshmallows.

Be sure to journal all day long so you don't forget about those little snacks.  I'll try to report back with my journal entries.  It might not be pretty.  My saving grace?  No cookies in the house.  Yay!

Happy Journaling!