Today’s tip seems simple enough, but it’s surprisingly hard for me to do sometimes. Before you start something new – like a new lifestyle goal or wellness plan, a first step is to assess the situation. Only then can you identify changes that you need to make, attainable yet challenging goals to set, and so on.
One of the first things I do with my clients is find out what they eat on a given day. It’s even better when they can provide me with a food log, having written down what they’ve eaten, when they’ve eaten it, and how they felt at the time (starving, bored, stressed). Of course, logs with that much information are the ideal, but the simple act of jotting down food can have valuable results.
For one, seeing what you’re eating gives you and me a lot of information. Maybe you’re eating too much processed food, or not enough unsaturated fats. Perhaps you don’t eat until lunchtime, and by then you’re ravenous and load up food. Or maybe you find that, no matter what, you can’t help yourself from raiding the vending machine in the mid-afternoon for a little pick me up.
If weight loss is your goal, there’s even some evidence that the simple act of writing down the foods you eat can help with cutting calories. Do you really want to write down the handful of M&Ms you grabbed from the snack room after lunch…and again 10 minutes later?
Keeping a food log need not be a chore – just 1-3 days’ worth is enough to identify eating habits and patterns, and can give you a sense of how you can improve your diet or habits. Try it and see.