Start a food journal. It’s essential to be honest and use great detail. This can be as simple as keeping a notebook in your kitchen or workplace, or updating a note on your PDA, or entering thoughts on a calendar. There are also websites such as myfitnesspal.com, sparkpeople.com, and mypyramidtracker.com, as well as plenty of easy-to-
use apps that allow you to track food intake. You can also make it a section in your fitness journal.
Whatever software or system you use, just remember to find one that lets you track your emotional state at each
meal. This can be an important component of whether a fitness program works or doesn’t work. Also, choose software or apps that make sense to you and keep the process simple.
In your food journal, focus on more than just calories.
• Be sure to give the date and time of each meal.
• Write what you are eating before you eat it. Doing so will make you pay attention to what you are about to put into your body and will make you more conscious of your decisions, which usually leads to making healthier choices.
• Write how you are feeling at the time of your meal. When you document your behavior in connection with your emotions, some surprising correlations can be found.
Each morning, take a look at the previous day’s entries. You may start to recognize trends. Is there a time of day that you find you are susceptible to overeating or making poor choices? Are you seeing certain emotions connected to eating certain foods? Watch for trends of negative feelings involved with eating or that cause cravings to eat. Ask yourself:
• Do I eat because I feel lonely, sad or depressed?
• Do I eat as self-punishment for not looking the way I think I am “supposed” to look?
• Do I tend to eat when I am bored?
• Do I eat to avoid loneliness? Do I see meals as a social event?
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