Though exercise and weight training are very important factors for increasing your fitness and losing weight, you absolutely cannot outwork a bad diet. Your body needs certain nutrients to thrive, and it needs them in the right quantities to create the physique you want. A food journal can help you to understand exactly what’s going into your body, leaving you better equipped to plan your workouts and calorie goals.
When you write down everything you’re eating each day, you automatically become a lot more mindful about food. It’s easy to snack away on junk all day without really thinking about it, but when it comes time to write down every single thing you’ve eaten you might be shocked! This alone is motivation enough for many people to lose weight.
What To Track In Your Food Journal
If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s important that your food journal shows that you created a calorie deficit for the day – that is, that you ate fewer calories than those you burned off through exercise. If you’re trying to build muscle, on the other hand, you’ll need to eat extra calories. Although you might think you can track this mentally, a journal is far more effective.
If you’re into bodybuilding then you’ll also want to keep track of your macronutrients throughout the day. When working out your bodybuilding aims, you’ll know how many proteins, fats and carbohydrates you should eat each day. A journal will ensure you’re keeping on track. If you’ve made progress, or are suffering from a lack of progress, then you can even look back through your food journal to try and find out why.
So, on a most basic level you should include the name of the food, the size of the portion and the number of calories it contained. You can also include details of protein, carbs and fats, and you can make use of a digital kitchen scale or a smartphone app if you want to note down more detailed stats.
If you’re an emotional eater then you can also use the food journal as a place to note down how you feel when you eat certain foods. This will leave you more connected to your emotions and in a much better position to understand the triggers that cause you to eat more than you should.
Yes, a food journal does take effort. However, if you start a new weight loss or diet goal without keeping track of your progress, the chances are strong that you’ll just give up without really trying.