Debbie Judd is a nurse for Drs. Michael and Mary Dan Eades —
authors of Protein Power. Debbie
writes for Body Trends, as well as with the Eades answering literally hundreds of emails, phone
calls and letters regarding the Protein Power plan.
Whether it's changing the way you eat for optimal health and/or weight, adding or engaging
in more exercise, or giving up old habits of any nature — your odds of success increase four
times if you'll commit your goals to writing and keep a careful record of your progress.
Studies have shown that when you're trying to make a lifestyle change — journaling is recommended
for that very specific reason-success! Researchers at the National Weight Control Registry
reviewed the records of over 2,000 people who successfully kept their weight loss goal for
more than 5 years. What was the common thread amongst the dieters? During their weight loss
period, they all kept a meticulous food journal of everything they ate at each meal, all
snacks, and everything they drank throughout the day. They also weighed in only once a week.
Debbie Judd, RN
Changing eating patterns is not easy — it's a discipline that you have to stay with — all day
and every day. A food journal book will help you maintain that discipline and allow you to
review and analyze your results as you proceed down your path to success.
How to use a Food Journal
Assessment: Review your current eating habits including how, when and what you typically eat.
Remember to include the good habits too. It's not a bad idea to document your clothes sizes and
your measurements. The scale doesn't always "tell the truth" and you may be loosing inches but
the scale isn't budging.
Next summarize what it is you want to change. Be realistic with what
it is you really want. Intense desire is an important motivator so be honest with yourself about
what commitments you are willing to make. The more specific the goals you set, the better the
chance of hitting the target. Do you want to start eating breakfast everyday, do you want to
eat only at the table and not in the car or on the run, and do you want to stop snacking in
between meals, drink more water? These are all potential goals to commit to.
of yourself and hang on your mirror, next to pictures of someone you would like to look like.
Keep your journal with you — everywhere you go. Record everything that you eat and drink as it
actually occurs or any other goals you have committed to. Not what you intended to eat or do.
Make your entries after finishing each meal or snack and not at the end of the day. With
busy lives and distracted minds we often forget what we ate just 4 hours ago — especially the
little piece of candy that you snuck from the candy jar as you were walking by. Just the act
of writing everything down will make you think twice about eating it and in a sense you become
your own "food police." A food count book to carry with your journal is helpful for finding
calculations you're not sure about. A small carry case, bag or a purse that fits your journal
and food count book will facilitate keeping these items with you at all times.
Plan your meals if possible. A meal planner worksheet such as the one
here, will teach you to prepare and plan
to expect what you are going to eat. Spontaneous, mindless eating without a focus on what
appropriate portion sizes should be or what our requirements of protein, carbohydrate and fat
grams are, sets us up for excessive consumption of calories beyond what is even imaginable.
Distractions can alter our plans, so this may not be possible, but disciplining yourself to
follow through with your commitment — to eat what you have planned, solidifies good habit
changes. Ideally, plan your meals when not hungry or when feeling satiated — like after a meal.
Whenever you can schedule it, sit down and make a meal planner sheet for each day. Some
individuals find it easier to plan their meals for the week on their day off. This enables
you to create a shopping list based on your meal plans. No need to buy "junk" food if it
isn't on your shopping list.
Analyze and record your results. At the end of each day, calculate your intake in calories
and grams. This method allows you to see any "danger spots" throughout your day and make appropriate
changes. Write down comments regarding physical and mental symptoms that may be indicators of poor
diet choices. Cravings, hungry all the time, mental fogginess, low physical energy may be symptoms
related to dietary intake, or the lack of proper nutrients. Record your weight once a week as well
as your measurements. Choose the same day and time each week. When reviewing each days dietary
intake, your will see if your daily goals match up to your weekly weight loss goals. If not, then
make the necessary adjustments for the next week. This way, you should be able to see consistent
results and you won't go in the "wrong direction" for too long a period before realizing adjustments
need to be made. Review your goals and commitments each day. Focus on your progress each week,
You will be as successful as your level of commitment. Your journal is a success tool.
Use it daily!
Copyright © August 2004 Debbie Judd, RN and Low Carb Luxury