Why A Food Diary Could Be Your Answer
Starting out 2018 with new resolutions and eating foods that will nourish your body instead of depleting your body. A valuable tool to use is doing a food diary. Why do we need a food dairy? Well, having a food diary helps you become more aware of your eating habits. If you experience certain side-effects after particular foods, a food diary can be a useful reference to track possible food allergies, sensitivities, food quality, and your food habits. A food diary is a very useful tool to assess areas that can be improved upon; not only to lose that stubborn weight but to help you eliminate processed, excess sugar, and the high carbohydrate foods that may be causing you inflammation and making you feel bad.
In your diary, be sure to make a note of how you feel both physically and emotionally before, during and after all meals and beverages. Are you angry, sad, bloated, experience excess gas, energy crash, or maybe you’re happy, energized and satisfied? I know this sounds like a lot, but it’s the essential feedback you need to illustrate whether or not your current diet is fueling or depleting your body.
This exercise empowers you with the confidence that you have the knowledge and wisdom to understand what you need to change your diet to gain health. You won’t feel the need to blame your ill health or weight gain on outside influences. With the food diary, you can literally begin to see and feel what’s causing your symptoms.
Whether that is a drop in your energy or you’re experiencing excess gas and discomfort, or maybe you’re experiencing low energy dips around 4:00 p.m. and looking for a sugary snack? That could mean that your meals are loaded with too many high-carbohydrates and excess sugar. When food enters the digestive tract, the pancreas alerts the hormone insulin to start getting the cells ready to receive all that sugar as it gets digested and processed. The insulin hormone works overtime to get your blood sugar levels to drop.
Why should we be concerned about insulin resistance?
Insulin is the hormone that moves glucose (sugar) from your blood into your cells for energy and storage. Glucose mainly comes from foods like fruit and carbohydrates. When you’re chronically eating too many carbohydrates (in the form of bread, pasta, pastry, cookies, cake, etc.), then add on sugary drinks, flavored coffee, fruit juice, etc., it causes your insulin levels to rise 24/7.
Eating a high carbohydrate, low-fat diet creates excess glucose (sugar) in your body. When insulin production is in chronic overdrive, the system stops working properly, the cells don’t receive the sugar, and the sugar stays in the bloodstream. This causes insulin resistance. The signal is going out, but the cells are just ignoring it. Think of it as a traffic jam. You’re sitting on the expressway during the prime commuter time. You need to be in a meeting in 10 minutes, yet you just sit in traffic; you can’t get there. That is pretty much what is happening in your body with insulin resistance, there’s so much inflammation blocking the cells that the important stuff can’t get in. There’s plenty of insulin, but nothing happens when it gets released – which leads to lots of both insulin AND sugar in the bloodstream.
When insulin resistance first starts, it’s not so bad. Then eventually the cells begin to take up the glucose. This is why it often goes unnoticed in the early stages. But, as it gets worse, it becomes harder and harder for the insulin to do its job.
When this happens, your body looks for sugar to burn instead of fat. When your levels drop, it craves another sugar fix. Then the hormone Leptin (the hormone that tells your brain that you’re full) becomes resistant as well. It is constantly looking for more food. When leptin resistance is chronic, you’re not able to lose weight, because you’re constantly hungry. And if you’re not doing any form of movement, exercise, etc., you’re adding to that chronic state of storing fat.
A body that has normal levels of blood sugar has an easy ebb and flow of blood sugar after a healthy meal. Your meal will include high-quality protein, healthy fat, fiber, complex carbohydrates and whole grains. Your insulin does its job, and raises a bit, but doesn’t have too much work to do, as your blood sugar levels drop off soon after your meal.
During our time together, this will be extremely useful information to know, as most of our weight gain is brought on by food intolerances, manufactured and processed foods, excess sugar, portion sizes and not eating proper food combinations, e.g., healthy fats, protein, fiber, and whole grains in our diet.
Below is a simple outline to follow in preparing for this week’s food journal:
In a journal or notebook, write down what you had to eat each day for a week. Include what are you doing while you’re eating, e.g., watching TV, talking on the phone, putting on makeup, etc. I know it sounds crazy, but distraction kills your ability to be mindful when eating.
Get out a notebook or journal and record each meal right away. Here’s a simple outline:
Step Two: Log all your food for that week.
Breakfast – a time of day, including coffee (and creamer), etc., portion size, etc.
Snack – a time of day, record snack here, number of crackers, etc.
Lunchtime – a time of day, record lunch here, portion sizes, etc.
Snack – time of day, record snack here
Dinner – a time of day, record dinner here, portion sizes, etc.
After dinner snack – a time of day, record after dinner snack here.
Anything additional – record here.
For this to work, you must be brutally honest. Record everything you eat and drink and the time of day for one week. Remember to include details, like portion sizes, oils used, whether you fry, sautee, steam, etc. With that said, try to make it simple. When I first did this, I was intrigued to learn that I was eating foods much too late in the day, which was prohibiting my weight loss.
Be honest. Write everything down, and be as specific as you can. Remember, you are creating a tool to help yourself be healthy! This is the whole point of keeping a food journal.
Be kind. This is a safe space for you! Avoid self-judgment and overanalyzing. This is giving you the power to see where you may be unconsciously eating certain foods that are prohibiting you from losing weight or are making you feel bad. You hand yourself the power of knowledge, instead of being a victim of a dieting roller coaster.
Be creative. There’s no right or wrong way to keep a food diary, so experiment to see what works for you.
Be intuitive. Allow your food diary to strengthen your intuition regarding what to eat and what makes you feel your happiest and healthiest. Explore the categories that feel right in your life, and be open to evolving your use of this tool as you grow. Your intuition will guide you. That’s what we’ll be discussing in this course. It will also reveal patterns we can discuss during our time together that can help us come up with strategies to move you into a new habit.
Above all have fun! If you want to join my private Facebook community click this link: "Create Health, Lose Weight, Feel Great," and send me you're email. This community will provide valuable resources and feedback for those who are going through health challenges. Whether you're a cancer survivor wanting to understand the right diet that will fuel your cells moving forward or you're dealing with an auto-immune disease and want to find solutions to help with symptoms, or you're discovering that you need more time for yourself, but haven't been able to take the leap in doing so, this group is for you! All of this has been my personal journey, and is why I am passionate about my work. I want to help you live and thrive in 2018!
I'm here to support you contact me today, for your free discovery session!
With love and appreciation, Donna