Can Food Journals Help You Pay Attention To Your Body?

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Have you found any rules that you follow without a true reason? I have officially gotten through 2 entire weeks without using my heart rate monitor once and I haven’t collapsed into a puddle of out of shapeness yet! I’ve also managed to stop staring at my bare wrist out of habit. It’s been quite relaxing for a change to try different workouts and just enjoy them instead of thinking halfway through that I have to do another workout on top of it to burn my target calories.

I’m still using a timer to make sure that I get my hour a day workouts in and I track my rest periods between sets. Giving my monitor a rest isn’t intended to allow me to become completely lax on exercise. It’s just to lighten up a bit and dare I say venture into the land of people who workout because they love it. It’s definitely left a smile on my face after a couple yoga classes so you could say it did help my happiness. 🙂

My-Fitness-PalI was reading the next assignment in the Happiness Project for the goal of paying attention and being mindful, and it’s something that I’ve talked about frequently on AFQ – Keep a Food Journal. When we pay attention to what we are eating, many times we consciously make better food choices. Better choices can lead to improved health, energy, and of course happiness. Yes, I know I’m stating the obvious.

We all know the mantra of eating right leads to better health and so on, but lots of times we still wing it. Those little bites here and there, those samples at the Costco, splashes of creamer. They all add up and can’t possibly be tracked accurately in our heads. Keeping a log of what we eat, helps to keep us on track towards our goals. It also goes beyond that though.

When I first started my quest to get healthy, I hadn’t a clue what to eat let alone how much to eat. I ate a couple huge meals a day and picked here and there. I finally got my act together and began eating regular meals and recognizing when I was hungry and when I was just tired or bored. Then along came contest prep and all that went out the window.

During prep there are times when you don’t get to eat a lot of food. Some days you are ravenous, but you’re focused on a goal and you just ignore the hunger as best you can. Since I ended up doing this for quite a bit, I became used to ignoring the signs of hunger so now I have trouble recognizing it at times.

By keeping a food diary, I can keep track of when and how much I last ate which helps distinguish sometimes between real hunger and imagined hunger. If I’ve just eaten within the last hour or two, I can be pretty sure that the grumblings I’m feeling are not true hunger. Even if you aren’t in contest prep, you may experience the same thing when reducing your calories. If you’re used to eating larger restaurant meals and cut back to suggested portions, you may find it hard to recognize true hunger from just wanting to eat more.

Keeping a food diary in itself is a great process to track what you eat and make sure that you’re eating the right things. It can also help you learn to pay better attention to what you’re feeling and recognize patterns. The more knowledge you have, the better choices you’ll make. Exercise, eating right, and feeling good about yourself can go a long long way towards happiness.

Do you have trouble sometimes figuring out if you’re really hungry?

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