Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Dear Diary . . . 5 Reasons To Keep A Food Diary

Hi Guys! You'll probably notice that I've been futzing with the blog design.  I'm moving things around, adding things, and playing with layout.  So the blog might look different than the last time you visited.  Bear with me.  I'm just trying to find something I like.  If you've got any suggestions leave me a comment.

I've been keeping a food diary for several years now as part of my adherence to the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.  What is a food diary?  Well, it can vary based on your needs and what you want to track.  But basically, it's a journal where you record all of the data that's pertinent to your diet and health.  Sound like a lot of work?  It isn't really.  It only takes a few minutes a day and can really add a lot to your healing journey. 

I put together 5 reasons why you want start keeping a food diary:

1.  It's an accurate record of your diet, exercise, and medicine regimen.  It's super important to keep an accurate record of what food you're eating and what medicine you're taking.  Especially in the beginning of the SCD.  This allows you to pinpoint the cause of any symptoms you might have.  When you begin to experiment beyond the basic safe foods, tracking your reactions can be very valuable.  The same can be said for your exercise and medicine.  I've identified more bad reactions and side effects related to new meds that I might have otherwise have attributed to food.

2.  Tracking how you feel can give you motivation.  In addition to simply keeping a record of what you're doing, write down how you're feeling physically.  You can follow your journey over time from flare to feeling good.  And looking back on the printed proof of your improvement can keep you on the straight and narrow when you really want those french fries.

3.  Tell me how you really feel.  And don't leave out all of the emotional stuff either.  There are a lot of emotions that come along with such a dramatic change in lifestyle.  I myself experienced a lot of guilt and not a little bit of alienation from the "normal" eaters around me.  Writing down how I felt really helped me to deal with it and move past it.  Now my journal is filled with success stories.  You might also notice that certain foods can provoke a change in your emotional state.  By writing it down, you can spot it and change your diet to either embrace that change or avoid it.

4.  Goals and Milestones.  Your food diary is also a good place to track your goals and milestones.  If you need to gain weight.  Or lose weight.  If you need to improve your intake of certain foods.  I celebrate milestones with stickers in my food diary.  Mostly because I'm a big kid at heart!

5.  It's a visual representation of success.  As time passes you'll find that you have many, many pages.  And then, especially if you're using a physical book as opposed to a soft copy, you'll have many, many books.  It's amazing how just looking at my journal collection gives me pride in my accomplishment. 

At the end of the day it's a tool to help you track, not just your actions, but your success as well.  And if you find that you need the extra motivation and support I really encourage you to try it.  It's made all the difference for me.

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