Keeping a food log can bring freedom

Keeping a food log does not have to be a burden. In fact it can be something that gives us freedom. It helps us to be mindful of the actions we take…..including eating…and moving us towards success.

New Year is one of those times that we tend to make all sorts of resolutions about the coming year. This year my resolution was to be more mindful of things I do in relation to health and well-being.

The first step was to do some reflecting. I asked the question, `What was I doing when I have been most successful in weight loss, and making healthy lifestyle choices?’

It soon became clear to me that there were some key things I had been doing, but that had gone by the wayside. These included embracing a low carb diet, daily walks, and planning my days. It wasn’t that I was not making efforts towards a healthy lifestyle, but rather than I was having less success, which I put that down to being older.

Regardless of anything else, I decided that the main thing I needed to do was to go back to a low carb diet. So by mid January I had discovered the world of paleo / primal living. I quickly realized that all the information I needed was available….now, not only did I adopt the diet, but also learned the science behind it and all the other aspects of the lifestyle.

A few weeks ago I began delving into Dean Dwyer’s podcast and book, Make Shift Happen.  I listened to the first podcast, began the second…..and went back to the first. I knew that this had some more life-changing things for me. On a two hour flight from Cairns to Brisbane I read the book, which had been sitting on my ipad unopened, for a couple of weeks. Then, while sitting in Brisbane airport I got it out again, listened to the podcasts and took notes!!!

The bottom line for me was, there is no point reading and learning unless you take action.

The first action I was challenged about was keeping a food log.

I wasn’t keen about this – trying not to have too much of a focus on food – but I do know that it has worked in the past. At this point I was happy that I was eating within the `rules’ of a primal plan. (Not paleo as I was having some occasional dairy.) So, even though I hadn’t lost any significant amount of weight in a couple of months I was confident that what I was eating was promoting health, not detracting from it.

As I listened to the podcast I was reminded that the thing I am aiming for is low carb, and I realised that I really didn’t know how many grams of carb I was eating. Why? Because I wasn’t keeping a tally. Duh!!!

The very next day I began to record my food again. I immediately realised that, just as Dean Dwyer says, it’s not so much about the counting, but rather the act of recording a log makes us more mindful of what we are doing.

It also means that if things are not going so well, we have some record to go back to in our evaluation of a day, a week, or even months.

  • Was your blood sugar elevated?
  • Did you feel tired at a particular time in the day?
  • Did you feel hungry during the day?
  • Were you irritated or grouchy at times in the day?

Check your food log for the day. It may give you some clues.

What’s the best way to go about this?

There are a lot of great food journal helps available. Most of them focus on a calorie counting model (totally outdated), but also include a carbohydrate, fat and protein breakdown. Just ignore the calorie section and go with these others.


Calorie King booklets found in most Aussie news-agencies. Also available online. They have a huge database of foods.

Internet based

Shapeup Club – this one has a great data base (including Australian products) and has a very good iphone app. See my review. Definitely my favourite and I use it every day.

Paleo Track – this one allows you to track the Omega 6 Omega 3 ration of your diet. Love that feature. There is no iphone app as yet though the developer tells me there is one in the pipeline.

No matter how you do it I would encourage you to track your food intake for 30 days and see what a difference it can make.

Please feel free to leave comments. Your experiences can be of help to other readers.

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