EMU Blog

Apr 23 2020

How to Use Your Quarantine to Start a Food Journal

by blogemu

. If you’re stuck at home as a result of the Coronavirus quarantine and have established a few unhealthy snacking habits, then chances are you may put on a few excess pounds. To counteract this, consider tracking your intake during quarantine. Food journaling has shown to help with weight loss; and the best part? It can be as personalized (that is, as vague or as detailed) as you want it to be.

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What’s a food journal? It’s a tool that is used to track your meals, snacks, fluid intake, among other stats. Food journals can be helpful to self-reflect or identify unhealthy eating patterns, and help identify how your intake relates to certain times of the day or emotional states. In addition, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says journaling can help positively reinforce new healthy behaviors, promotes mindfulness, accountability, and can lead to more good choices.

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How should you track? This decision is totally up to you. While most people today keep digital food journals, “pen-and-paper” types might find that keeping a physical journal is more effective. Even more creative still, there are those who use photo-journaling to track their intake. One new app, called Bitesnap, does just this. Other digital apps like MyFitnessPal or CalorieKing are more common, but you can also make your own template on word processing software such as OneNote.

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What should you track? In addition to food and fluids, tracking other measurements like weight or minutes of physical activity can help you monitor and achieve other fitness goals. However, beware of the temptation of making a food journal too detailed starting out. While some people find it helpful to track calories or grams of macronutrients for each food item, this can be time-consuming, overwhelming, and discouraging to those with busy lifestyles. Start with the basics, then add details as you go.
The name of the game is consistency. Since it takes around 6 months (and not the 21-days we’ve all heard before) to establish a habit, the thought of keeping a daily food journal may seem daunting. Keep in mind, your journal doesn’t have to be perfect to be effective. Research shows that those who track their food intake, even just most of the time, are more successful with weight management than those who don’t track at all. For more tips and information on how to successfully keep a food journal for weight loss, visit https://www.eatthis.com/food-journal-guide/.

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About the writer:
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My name is Eduardo Paredes, and I am a proud Master’s Dietetic student here at EMU. I am passionate about food, and enjoy cooking, binge-watching TV shows, or spending time with my three toy poodles. Being in quarantine has made me miss dining out with friends.

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