If we are going to make changes in our diet, we first need to know what exactly we are putting into our bodies so we’ll know where we have deficiencies or where we might need to cut back. Tracking what we ingest takes the guess work out of calorie counting and macronutrient balance.
For this challenge we are not asking you to calculate calories or macronutrient breakdown, just document what you eat and drink. We hope this helps you prepare for the Fall Nutrition Challenge where we WILL track our intake more specifically in order to make some positive changes.
Here are some reasons for food journaling…
Understand your sources of calories
Calories aren’t just about total calories, but about the breakdown of protein, carbohydrates, and fat, which are 3 nutrients that provide energy for your body. You’ll also keep track of alcohol you drink, which is the other element that provides calories to your body, but is not a nutrient. You may realize 70% of you calories are coming from carbohydrates, which is far higher than even what the USDA recommends (which is already high), or you might realize you only have 10% of your calories from protein despite being an active individual.
Get a feel for portion control
By learning more about calories, you also learn more about portion control and the types of foods you can eat in larger portions like lean meats, vegetables, and certain fruits, and the types of food you want to eat sparingly. Overall, you become far more cognizant of portion control.
Identify situations where you binge
Sometimes eating is more emotional.
Provides a hard, objective record
Many times in our minds we will trick ourselves into believing we didn’t eat something, or we didn’t eat that much unhealthy food. When you have a written log, or journal, it takes the guess work and the guessing games out of the equation. You will know exactly how you are eating and that objective feedback can help inspire change.
Identify if you have a calorie surplus, or deficit