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January 18, 2021

Benefits of Keeping a Food/Hydration Journal

We all struggle with proper nutrition from time to time but making a lifestyle change is easier said than done. However, there is something that can hold us accountable during our journey and that’s keeping a food and hydration journal. Many of us journal our day-to-day routines but what if we did the same for what we eat?

“So many of us mindlessly eat, especially when we’re on the go or in front of the computer or TV. By writing everything down in a food diary, you are forced to really think about what you are eating,” says Alissa Ramsey, M.S., R.D., spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. By writing down what you eat, makes you accountable for everything that you put into your mouth.

A very easy yet simple way to gain power back from the never-ending battle of cravings, convenient fast-food spots, and everything else in the kitchen. Here are all of the benefits of keeping a food and hydration journal on your path to healthy eating and living:

Better awareness

Food journaling can be a bit overwhelming at first but soon you’ll get a better idea of what you’ve really been eating and all of your habits. Struggling with water intake? Set a goal to drink 8 cups a day and focus on that for at least a week. Eating too many carbs? Adjust your meals by meal planning and logging it into your journal to see if you noticed any changes. Becoming more aware of what you eat and drink every day is brining you one step closer to having a healthy regimen.

It reveals gaps in your nutrition

When you begin writing down your meals, you will start to notice grey areas in what you do and/or eat. Are you skipping out on breakfast a lot? Do you tend to eat dinner late? Things like this are important to take note of and adjust accordingly. Journaling can also track if you’re eating too much or not enough calories. If you struggle with including vegetables into your diet, journaling can help you better incorporate them in your meals.

You can lose weight

Once you are aware of what you are eating, it makes it easier for you to lose weight. Generally, we don’t think about what we eat, it’s mostly about craving or what you’re feeling to eat as something that we think about most. One of the biggest perks to having a food journal is that you are practicing mindful eating habits. You won’t start eating out of boredom because you are writing down everything that you consume. The little snacks that you used to eat between meals could have been unhealthy treats or habits that prevent you from losing weight. Maintaining your food and hydration journal will help you stay mindful of the treats you come across on a daily basis.

Help identify any triggers to bad eating habits

Sometimes, there are things that trigger unhealthy eating habits. Here are a few things to include in your journal besides the food you consume:

  • Your Location
  • Time of Day
  • Mood

Writing these three things down in addition to what you ate will help you keep track of things that affected your food choices. For an example, if you’re in a stressful environment, perhaps at the office, then you are more prone to opting for things like pop, juice, or candy. Having a food and hydration journal can help you realize certain triggers early on so they can be addressed.

Importance of hydration

Many people don’t drink nearly enough water in a day and having a food journal can expose this. Drinking enough water each day is crucial for many reasons: to regulate body temperature, keep joints lubricated, prevent infections, deliver nutrients to cells, and keep organs functioning properly. Being well-hydrated also improves sleep quality, cognition, and mood.

In order to do this successfully, you should write down what you eat and drink immediately following a meal. Waiting until the end of the day may result in forgetting what you’ve eaten and won’t be accurate as you like it to be. Now, that you know some of the benefits of having a food and hydration journal, you are ready to begin living a happy and healthy lifestyle.

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