Friday, July 6, 2012

Should you, or do you need to, keep a Food Journal? Maybe not!

This post is inspired by a comment left to me that I just noticed yesterday.  I do not get notified when comments are left so if I have never replied to one of your comments it's most likely because I don't know you left it!

Anyway the comment is about how to keep motivation for a food journaling.

 Ape said...

I love to eat healthy, but food journals are where I struggle. I feel like all those programs are not made for people that eat rather healthy. They are made w/ bar code scanners because people aren't eating broccoli and carrots or a salad. I even recently tried writing down my journal w/ just a pen and paper, but I slacked off again--way too quickly I may add. I know I eat well, and I know where I can clean up i.e., ice cream and my daily piece of dark chocolate that can turn into a few extra dark chocolate almonds. Annoying. Can you suggest ideas for structuring a food journal or how yours typically looks?

First of all I want to address the first part of this comment about eating healthy, pretty healthy, or "rather healthy", and how it relates to why keep a journal at all?

If you are at a body weight you like then there is no need to change what you are's working for you.  If your body composition is where you like it to be, fat/lean muscle, then there's no need to keep a journal.  If you are feeling overall "healthy", then there's no need to keep a journal, and therefore no motivation to do something you really don't need.

If you want to change your body weight, and usually it's to reduce body weight, and you truly don't know, or you may feel perplexed as to, why you weigh what you weigh, then a food journal will put it all in black and white, and it will provide a wealth of information besides just calories. (although if that's all you are interested in then that'll work too)

Amount of food (calories)
Types of foods (nutritional content)
Times you eat / don't eat
Exercise you do / don't do

If you are interested in changing your body composition a food journal can be instrumental.  Most people wanting to change composition want to get "leaner".  There are many diets/theories/plans on how to get lean, but first let me remind you that you must first have muscle to "lean out"!  Otherwise you are just getting skinny!  If skinny is what you want then fine, "skinny" can be lean, but it's not muscular.  Getting "lean" is about building and preserving hard earned and trained muscle mass while losing only fat.  This usually means losing weight (fat) slower and over a longer period of time. I believe this is where the recommendation to not lose more than 2lbs a week stems from.

I'm not implying, or assuming that "Ape" is overweight, in fact I'm guessing not, but most people will say that they do indeed eat "pretty healthy".  But if you have lots of weight to lose, more than 25lbs, and certainly more that 40-50lbs, then regardless of whether or not you think you are eating rather healthy, you can't be. The very fact that you are that much overweight gives it away.  A serving of ice cream, or a handful of chocolate nuts, is not what will produce obesity, even if consumed daily (single portion).  So is it producing some other kind of effect you want to change?

OK, so you want to change your body, size, weight, shape, etc., for what ever reason.  How much you want to change it will determine your motivation!  Not so much?  Then not so much!  I can only share with you my opinion based on my own life and experience.

When I really, really, really, want something, I make it happen.  Right now my food journal is hit and miss because I really don't want to change anything!  I'll go a week or more of consistent journaling when I think I'm ready to change something, but then I don't change anything!  I already know why I weigh what I weigh, and I'm not seeming to mind enough to do something different.  I'm in the "wishing" stage right now, lol!  And that's fine!

Another reason besides just wanting to change the size and shape of your body may be that you are feeling sick, and you don't know why.  Tired, weak, maybe some kind of pain, whether muscle or joint pain, or mental craziness pain (mood)!  Food can be medicine as much as it can be drug.  Again, are you feeling miserable enough to look for possible food related reasons?

Lots of people, most people, don't keep a food journal, there's just no reason compelling enough in their lives to want to, or have to.  Journaling food, emotions, workouts, banking, mileage, is all the same thing.  A way of collecting data to keep track, stay on track, or find answers to questions that are relevant to living a kind of life you say you want.  If you have that life already, or your life is "close enough" (lol) then enjoy it!  Don't worry about something that does not have, or add value to you already good life!

PS I have years and years of my food journal on my original blog "Living My Physical Potential" in case anybody is interested in looking it over.  Nothing fancy, just data.  Since I was in the habit of blogging regularly I simply included it in my regular posting.  Maybe starting a blog, even if it's a private blog, would be beneficial...just an idea.


Hanneke said...

I want to thank you for you recent post on sock sleeves. I am using them for 2 years now but still had major issues with snatch volume

I went out and bought several pair of kid socks and tried a pair out today. Great results already on the first snatch training!!! 480 snatches with the 14K and no major tears. Just a small blister on the inside of my thumb, a place that I never had anything before, no big deal.

I will try taping also but I am really happy with this result. Thanks again.

(sorry for off topic...)

Tracy Reifkind said...


You are welcome! I didn't think many people understood the nuances of the socksleeve! Since I've been doing high volume forever I've had to find ways to keep my hands healthy enough for the next workout!

I know there are "hand saving" techniques, but I'm not that sophisticated. Cut me a sock and I'm fine!

Ape said...

Thanks so much Tracy!! :)

Ape said...

By the way, I'm an RKC too and I am comfortable with my weight like you mentioned. Nothing to really lose, but my concern is more that I'm trying to stick with programs that I endorse for my clients. I tell them to write food logs, but I don't really feel the need to do it for me.

Like I said, the apps out there on phones are often for foods w/ a bar code. It's was too ridiculous to calculate a salad w/ spinach, mixed greens, 1/2 avocado, 1/4 c grilled chicken, 1-2 eggs, and lots of love. :) I love my salad and write all about my love for real food on my website I just feel like food journals are a struggle for ME individually, and perhaps like you said it is because I don't feel the need to really change anything.

Tracy--you're awesome and I always use your story to help inspire my clients that Kettlebells and good food are the way to go. :) Thanks again!!