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5 Reasons to Keep a Food Journal

Fitday Editor

Learning how to eat for life and gain control over so many aspects of your life can begin with keeping a journal. Change is not always easy and new healthy habits have to be created that take determination and work. An essential part of embarking on this journey is record keeping. Study after study shows that keeping a journal is one of the most consistent ingredients for a successful outcome.

Let your journal become your best friend. Journaling on FitDay allows you to record everything you eat. Keep records of the energy drink you picked up when you filled up your gas tank, the ice cream you tasted, leftovers from your child's plate, those "few" chips you ate and yes, licking the spoon counts so record it. You'll find your memory is not as good when you look back over your day.

Journaling serves many purposes. Here are just a few:

1. Identifying Where Your Calories are Coming From

It may surprise you. You need to realize and identify the problem before you can fix it. For many of us, mealtime is not always where the majority of calories are coming from. It could be that frozen latte at the coffee shop.

2. Accountability

Especially accountability to yourself. It makes you think first before you eat and question if you're really hungry. Sometimes drinking water when those little hunger pangs start can make them subside.

3. Keeps You on Track with Your Program

Keeping track of calories and timing of meals is important. Journaling helps you match your goals so a record of each day is critical.

4. Feedback

We're all different and our metabolism responds differently to changes in our eating. If something isn't working for you, then you may be able to consult with a dietician for suggestions or other options. A record of what you've been eating will help a dietician give you proper feedback.

5. Portion Control

It's important to record accurate portions sizes for each food. If weighing each food is not possible, then estimate the size. For example, one slice of bread is one ounce and a piece of fish the size of your palm is approximately three to four ounces.

Journaling is a tool that helps control blood sugar levels. You may be going way too long without food and this habit can cause cravings for foods, increased appetite, loss of energy and slowed metabolism. All of this can be reversed with mini-meals every three to four hours that consist of good quality protein and fiber.

Does this mean you have to keep a journal forever? No. The goal is to develop a lifestyle change that becomes second nature. Aim for keeping a journal for at least 10 weeks because it really does take that long to develop a lasting change. Then, in the future, you can use your journal as a tool to get back on track if you find you're developing counterproductive habits. Remember, frequent, small meals every three hours will help control appetite, blood sugar and may increase your metabolism.

Sherry L. Granader is a Sports Nutritionist, National Speaker and Spokesperson, Author of 2 healthy cookbooks, Writer, Ghost Writer, Nationally Certified Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer. She has shared the stage with such celebrities as Whoopi Goldberg, Suze Orman and the late Governor Ann Richards and served as the On-Air Nutritionist for QVC television in the United States and the UK. She has cooked for her favorite bodybuilder, Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk) and his family, shared her nutrition expertise with Chuck Norris on the set of his movie "Sidekicks" and appeared on 8-time Mr. Olympia, Lee Haney's Championship Workouts on ESPN. Sherry hosted her own "Healthy Living" show on PBS for several years. For more information on Sherry, visit or write to Sherry at

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