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Why would anyone have a food journal? One big reason is the health benefits of journaling and it’s relatively simple. It helps you learn more about your eating habits, without focusing every second of the day on them. Simply write in your journal when you eat and go on about your business, reviewing the journal at the end of the day or week. If you can’t figure out why you’re gaining weight, since you don’t eat much, you may be surprised at how many nibbles you take throughout the day.
You don’t actually have a book and write everything down, unless you like old school. You can track what you eat via smartphone. If you’d like, later transcribe it to a book when you add the calorie or carb values into the information. There are a variety of apps you can use that are offered free online. Some of them do the calorie calculation for you. Since you normally carry your phone with you, it’s one of the best ways to ensure you log every bite.
Tracking calories is just one use of the food journal. You can note your mood when you eat. You may notice a pattern. When you’re angry do you choose chips and crunchy food? When you’re sad is comfort food your first go-to? People who feel stress often opt for sweets. How does that information help? You can opt for an apple and get the benefit of having a crunchy food that also helps you eliminate anger. Journaling tells you more about yourself and helps you learn ways to cope more effectively.
If the doctors are stymied, maybe the problem is in your diet. While an elimination diet is often best if the problems are severe, for those less pressing, use a food journal. Instead of noting your mood every time you eat, add symptoms that occur afterward, when they occur. If you see a consistent pattern, such as stomach pain every time you consume milk or a headache when you eat peanuts, you may find the food that triggers the symptoms and avoid constant doctor’s visits or chronic discomfort.
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