There are several different reasons that you would log your food. Maybe you are trying to lose weight, or you are trying to gain weight. Logging your food is great in these instances because you are ensuring that you are still eating an appropriate amount of calories for your activity level and goals. But these two reasons are not the only reasons to log your food. If you are not interested in counting your macros, or weighing and measuring your food, utilizing a food log is still a great way to ensure that you are eating the foods that will make you feel good. This third reason for logging your food is to help you develop good habits by eating intuitively for your body. Intuitive eating is eating based off how your body is feeling day to day, which is the ultimate act of mindfulness. If you are eating intuitively, you are paying attention to your body’s reactions to different types of foods, and your subsequent energy levels. Here’s where a food log comes in handy.
Food Log 101
In the case of intuitive eating, a food log is a tool that you can use to record what you are eating, and how you felt after eating it. Your reaction to the food you are eating, including any bloating/discomfort, and your energy levels, will tell you what adjustments to make to your diet from there. The key is to log your reaction to your food 2-6 hours after eating to allow for your body to go through the digestion process, as well as taking into account how to you feel 24-48 hours after. You can focus on things like whether or not your meal caused you to feel bloated or gassy, and whether you felt like you had energy after eating or you crashed.
If you keep a food log with these responses for long enough, you will begin to see patterns of foods that typically do not sit well with you, and foods that tend to make you feel great! With this information you can start to plan your meals around the foods that give you energy.
Changing your eating habits can be daunting, but just like any other habit, it takes practice and consistency. You can start by asking yourself, "Am I sitting down to eat my meal?" or "Did I actually chew every bite of my food?" These are great questions to ask yourself to build better habits around eating your meals. We are very often quick to deem foods “good” or “bad” for us if we feel discomfort or bloating immediately after eating, but sometimes the actual culprit of these adverse reactions to our food choices come from the way we are eating. Food hygiene is almost just as important as what you are actually eating.
If you are cramming food down your throat, eating on the go, or trying to multitask while you eat, the food you are ingesting might not actually get digested. That’s where discomfort comes in, because your body is in such a stressed state when you’re eating that it cannot devote the resources needed to digest food properly.
Logging your food as well as the way you ate your food will help you stay aware of why you might feel how you feel, and where to start in terms of the small changes you can make to feel better and perform better both in the gym and in your daily life.
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