“Keeping food logs is a logical step if you want me to identify any discrepancies in your diet”. I insisted that I was eating healthy. I ate a few servings of fruit, many of vegetables, had even begun including salads in my diet, so overall I was getting balanced nourishment. What if there were no discrepancies? How many can there be any way, when you eat only vegetarian food?
Funnily, she seemed to crack up when I told her I was already eating healthy. Even If I had shared a funny incident with her at that minute, she would not have laughed so hard. According to her, nine out of ten clients begin their food logs, imagining how healthy their eating habits were. “You will realize how many things are wrong only when you begin keeping a food log. The only downside is that you have to commit to logging in every little morsel you pop into your mouth” she added knowingly.
So there it was.
I began to keep food logs like she wanted me to. I shared them with her at the end of every third day for the first two weeks and then once a week for the next few weeks. My food logs would come back to my email within the hour of my sending them to her with her remarks. If she approved the log then there would be comments in green, if she did not, the entry would be marked in red with a remark alongside explaining the reasons. I will not go into details of my food log. Suffice to say, that the first few logs I shared with her looked bloodied when they came back.
On one hand while I dreaded feedback on my food log, on the other, I dreaded eating anything that had to be entered into the log! Confession time – There have been days when I snacked on somethings unhealthy and did not enter it into my food log! There I said it. A big load off my chest.
In the first few days, I was not sure what parts of the log would come back with red markings. Sometimes even my salads had them- if my salad had sweet corn, noodles, pasta, peanuts, or potato, that is. My soup dinners or lunches when eaten with bread rolls, biscuits with tea in the afternoon and the fact that my water intake was not enough were some of the other red areas. I had trouble having water and unless I consciously made an attempt and kept a water bottle at arm’s length I would never feel the need for any water. According to my coach, most “hunger pangs” are usually “thirst signals” because we don’t drink enough water.
Then one day my log came back with a green “excellent” and then on, I was beginning to look forward to the green marks on my food logs. If you had had a favourite teacher at school that you had tried hard to impress, I am sure you can relate to this. In a few weeks of keeping my food log, I was not waiting for her red marks or remarks. I was sending her my logs with remarks in red when I knew she would not approve what I had consumed!
I began to see the logic of keeping a food log. First, it helps you (or your trainer) keep tabs on the number of things you eat every day. Secondly, it makes you feel guilty to pick and eat a random dessert or calorie rich treat because you have to put it down in your log. Let me assure you, it is not a great feeling when you cheat.
At the end of the first month of food logs, my coach gave me some simple rules to remember.
- Eat to feed your hunger not because it is time for lunch or dinner.
- Just because something is healthy for you, you can’t over dose on it
- 5 days of bad food choices every 30 days was nothing to fret about.
I will highlight a few changes I made in my diet in the next post. Have you kept a food log? What has been your experience?
The sixth post in this journey is here.