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Does the idea of keeping a food journal or preplanning your food fills you with dread? 

Keeping a food journal can be a very helpful and powerful weight loss tool (it is evidence based after all).  But like everything in weight loss, your intentions behind the food journal are going to determine if it feels helpful or feels like a chain around your neck. 

If you are someone who thinks “I really should be food journaling, but it’s so hard” or you just can’t get yourself to do it, you are not alone. 

Chances are, if you find yourself dreading the idea of keeping a food journal or pre-planning your meals you are probably making one of these common mistakes…

  1. You are giving the journal too much power. This is common with any weight loss tools. When you give power to the tool, it starts to feel like your journal is judging you, labelling you as good or bad, or determining your successes and failures. When you give the journal power over you and your thoughts, it takes the control away and can feel as though the journal is mocking you. The journal is just data gathering. 
  2. Perfectionist tendencies. As a physician, you likely have a tendency to feel like everything needs to be perfect. An example of this would be if you create a plan that restricts your eating, eventually you will eat off the plan and the perfectionist tendency will kick in and label this as a failure. Instead, think about how you want to eat to maintain your weight loss. It’s probably not realistic to maintain this type of restrictive meal plan forever, so remember to include the foods you enjoy now to avoid this pitfall.    
  3. Making it more complicated than it needs to be. There are so many books, apps and plans available to help with food journaling. But, it doesn’t need to be complicated. As a physician, you are busy and you don’t need another daunting task to worry about. I’ve tried many of the apps and books available for journaling, but what I’ve found works best for me is the notes section of my regular day planner. You don’t need to write down amounts or macros. Just write down what you plan to eat for each meal, then throughout the day make note of what you actually ate. If you eat something you didn’t plan, lean into the food journal and gather data. What was going on at that moment? Writing down the “why” is the most useful piece of information. Keep it simple.

Food journaling is something I have recently started to work on inside the private Facebook Group for Stress Eating SOS. Every day I post a picture of my food journal and encourage others to do the same, if they choose. The idea is not to be perfect all of the time. It’s okay to stumble. Those are the moments where you get to take a step back and look at what else was going on in your day that may have resulted in those stumbles. And the great part is that when you can find those triggers you can start to make changes that will have a lasting impact on your life and your weight.

If you are a physician and you want a plan that helps you lose weight, helps you feel in control of your eating, and helps you create a life that you want, Stress Eating SOS is the program for you. You can join the waitlist today – the doors open again on January 18, 2022.

Listen to the full podcast to listen as I go through how to make your food journal and food plan work for you.