Ma Bella Vita: Mid-Week Motivation 5 (fitness series): Food Diaries

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Mid-Week Motivation 5 (fitness series): Food Diaries

Hello ladies and gents,

Another day of waking up at the top of the morning. Here is a bit of my morning routine:

Had my 'power tea' while listening to Oprah and Chopra meditation series (we are on day 3!). 

Tea recipe: Boiled water with 1 cinnamon stick, star anise (or nutmeg), lemon juice. Let simmer for about 10 mins, removed from heat, add a bag of green tea to hot water. let it infuse for ~5 minutes. 

Made myself a quick breakfast and ate it while reading the paper, getting ready for my work day.

Yummy oatmeal w/ raisins, walnuts, almond butter toppings + cinnamon & coffee w/ soy.

Got to work.

Hope you're all having a phenomenal week so far! We are smack in the middle of it and here I am again with yet another Mid-Week motivation post to inspire and motivate you (and myself, while I'm at it).

Today I want to talk about a super powerful tool which has aided me tremendously pretty much my entire life when it comes to weight loss and fitness efforts. This post is in fact a way overdue considering I've been using a food diary since I was a teenager. You may notice a trend when it comes to me and using writing in pretty much every facet of my life. I don't know if there is a "type" of people that is inclined to writing everything down but if there is, I am definitely one of those people and using writing in my fitness journey is no exception.

I know there can be a lot of debate surrounding a food diary including-  "is too restrictive", "who has time to write things down?!", "we should just be eating intuitively without the need of tools", and the list probably goes on and on. However, I have to say that I am on the other side of the debate and feel strongly about the value of food diaries not only to keep ourselves accountable in terms of what we eat and how we exercise, but it can also also serve many numerous purposes including but not limited to:
  • A 'therapy' tool where we can elaborate a bit on how we felt on a particular day, which can help us find a link between the foods we consume and our emotional and/or mental state on a particular day. 
  • A food diary can also assist tremendously in identifying how certain foods affect our bodies. Maybe we feel bloated, tired, lethargic or maybe we  feel amazing, energized, strong on a particular day. We can always look back to what we did/ate and see if we can identify some type of connection. 
  • A tool which can keep us accountable and focused on our ultimate fitness & well-being objectives while we take it a day at the time and have an actual tangible visual of how we do each day. Something we can look back to and analyze.
Just to show you, I was able to find a bag in my apartment that contains most of the journals I've used over the years. Out of all the journals inside this bag I'd say about 80% of them are former food diaries:

The type of data we can gather from simply keeping a food diary can help us tremendously as we go forward in improving ourselves in a comprehensive level-- including our bodies, minds, and spirits.

I am aware it is 2015 and there are a gazillion smart phone apps out there where we can track our foods and fitness activities on a daily basis. However, to be completely and utterly honest with you (and speaking from personal experience, as I have tried these tools temporarily) I feel that nothing compares to using pen and paper. Taking the time to search for a particular food/portion size/etc. on an app and making sure it all syncs correctly is far more time consuming than simply designating a journal as your food diary and make sure you have a pen with you. That's pretty much all you need.

I would recommend the size of the journal/notebook is compact enough that you can pretty much take it anywhere if you wanted to. I like to update my food journal at the end of the day or some time in the middle of the day. However, some people like to write down what they ate immediately. Do whatever works for you.

Just to give you an idea on how I personally organize my food journal entries, here is a sample of the journal I am currently using:

  • Very top contains the number of days I have been using the journal 
  • Right hand corner contains the date/day of week
  • Left hand corner indicates (W, F, V) which stands for 'water', 'fitness', 'vitamins', and is where I write down my water intake for that day, what I did for fitness, and whether or not I took my multi-vitamin. 
  • Moving on to the body of the entry: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Snacks (self explanatory; I list what I ate under each section).
  • 'Reflections': End of entry. This is the part where I elaborate a bit on how I was feeling that day overall. I also find a connection on days when I am feeling down I consume more snacks or 'sugary' foods. I also find a link between not drinking enough water and my sugar intake/level of cravings.

I have a post coming soon about all the intriguing and helpful things I have learned about myself and my habits which I have learned from simply keeping a food diaries (on and off) for several years. Is very interesting stuff so jamming it in to this post wouldn't do it justice.

And that's all my friends. Hope you found this post useful and hope that I've encourage you to incorporate some reflective writing in your your fitness and/or health and fitness journey. It has worked for me so incredibly well and I have no doubt it can work for you as well.

How do I know it works? I've tried starting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle without keeping food diaries in the past and I've found that I wouldn't be able to keep up my "good habits". This may sound weird but, without the need to write things down, I felt like nothing was really keeping me accountable and there was no real way for me to look back at my progress whenever I felt like it. The minute I introduced a journal to my journey it officially feels like "its on now! its game time!".

Tell me, do you or have you used food diaries before? What are your personal thoughts on it?



  1. I track my food and don't find it to be too much of an issue. I have been doing it for years. I now use My FItness Pal and like that for the most part. It's easy enough and now that I got a smart phone, I use the app when I am out.

    1. Ive used Fitness Pal before but maybe I didnt give it enough of a chance? I feel like I can be so old school sometimes! However, based on what you are telling me I think I'll give it another chance. I'll let you know how it goes :)

  2. I always love hearing how people spend their day, so this was great! Also love that tea recipe, I'm going to have to try that!

    1. Thank you :) Is actually a recipe I learned from my mom. The original recipe also includes pieces of apple (boiled in together with all the other spices). Is an incredible immune system booster. I swear by it!

  3. I am write there with you. I have kept food and fitness journals since 2006 and absolutely love it. I actually forced myself to toss them all out a couple of months ago.

    1. Oh wow! I need to learn from you in having the courage to throw them out. I keep everything. I may or may not have a problem lol


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