Hey Angels and Alphas,
We all know keeping a food journal is a well-researched, well-documented strategy for helping you lose weight. By essentially logging everything you eat and drink, you can learn a lot about yourself, your patterns, and what you need to do to eat healthy and achieve your fitness and nutritional goals.
Of course, food journals only work if they’re something you decide to stick with. One of the most common objections to food journaling is the fact that it’s rather time-consuming and sometimes even tedious.
Especially in the beginning, it can definitely feel like a chore to a lot of people. And if you have to write down long recipes or meal combinations, create vague estimates of portion sizes, or type down product brand names, it can all feel like a consuming and overwhelming endeavor.
But one thing’s for sure – it works. Studies have shown us that experienced meal loggers take no more than 10-15 minutes out of their day to log their choices once they’ve already built the habit. And saving time is key when it comes to this practice because that’s one of the main reasons you’re doing it.
Today, we want to talk about a few tips you can use to instantly speed up the process and make food journaling a much more sustainable and enjoyable habit.
Here’s our list of 5 tips you can use to instantly improve your food journaling game:
#1 MEAL PLANNING SHOULD BE THE CORNERSTONE OF YOUR JOURNAL
By planning your meals ahead of time, you will simplify your entire food logging journey by making your intake of meals super predictable. Sure, meal planning can take a while to get used to, but recording every meal and snack before you eat them should make it easier to track since it’s all there, laid out for you. You can find loads of meal planning templates you can instantly use in your journaling and make everything so much more sustainable and predictable.
#2 WRITE DOWN YOUR FAVORITE RECIPES
Saving recipes and meals for later is such a time-saver. If you often find yourself logging out 15-20 ingredients for a single meal, you can set out a portion of your journal for recipes and you’re set for life. You’ll always have go-to meals you can easily create and enjoy.
#3 ONE FOOD CAN STAND FOR MANY
A great food logging hack is that you can use keywords that represent certain foods or food groups and use them to represent equivalent amounts of macros or calories. You can use categories such as fruits and veggies, dairy products, starches, fats, lean proteins, and others to simplify your logging and remove the necessity for logging every single meal.
Here are a few great examples you can use:
1 cup of dairy = this can mean ¾ cups (184g) of yogurt or 1 cup of fat-free milk. Same calorie content.
3 ounces lean protein = this can mean skinless turkey, chicken breast, fish fillet, canned tuna, etc. Calorie count and protein quantity are similar.
#4 IF YOU DON’T HAVE A FOOD SCALE, GET ONE
Portion sizes can easily become an obstacle when it comes to logging your meals. It’s almost impossible to correctly eyeball the weight of your food in ounces or grams, especially if you expect to do that consistently. The quickest fix here is to buy a food scale with which you can easily measure the weight of food and log it so you can eyeball it effortlessly in the future.
#4 AND GET VISUAL GUIDES, AS WELL
After logging specific items a couple of dozen times, you will actually start to memorize what a 3-ounce cup of fruit looks like. And when you get to this point, you can create your own visual guides that will help you make the entire logging process much smoother and more comfortable.
This may not be the most accurate method to log your food, and the famous saying that the palm of your hand is as long as 3 ounces of chicken breast may not always be true, but it will help you save a ton of time when you’re on the go and log your meals with more confidence and consistency.
Bringing it all together…
There’s no denying it – food journaling can seem time-consuming and overwhelming at first. But with a little planning and strategic discourse, you can streamline the process and make it easy and productive.
But remember to always look for patterns in your journal and signals of burnout. Do you find yourself craving sweets three days in a row? Do you find you’re eating just to satisfy your journal? Listen to your body. It’s perfectly okay to take breaks from the strategies you employ to reach your goal, but always make sure you’re working toward creating the most sustainable, enjoyable fitness lifestyle for yourself.