Food Journaling 101; the Why, the What, and the How


While each of us has a different kind of meal that’s optimal for our bodies and our wellness goals, every human has a few things in common when it comes to food. Specifically, the way(s) our bodies react when we’re filling it versus fueling it; when the meals we choose aren’t giving us the nutrients or energy our bodies need, want, or crave. Ever get to the end of a meal and just don’t feel…good? Maybe you’ve eaten too much and you can already feel your belly bloating, some heartburn rising, or a distinct heavy feeling from fingertips to toes. OR, maybe you’ve experienced the unmistakable robot-booting-down effect (aka a mega energy crash) a short while after you eat. When we start to pay attention to how our bodies respond and react to what we’re eating, we can gather some interesting, meaningful and supportive insights about what fuels versus simply fills us. A great tool and practice for raising our mealtime awareness and mindful eating: a food journal.

The what and why of Food Journaling

Designed to be a non-judgemental exercise, a Food Journal is used to bring awareness to how what you put into your body makes you feel….NOT to count calories or monitor intake of certain foods or food groups. It’s about an empowered connection between food and your body – and can be an incredible tool for new insights, awareness and habit breakthroughs as you start to connect how you want to feel with the foods that help you get to that place. Here’s a shortlist of the benefits of writing a Food Journal

  • Awareness: when completed with honesty and revisited or reviewed periodically, patterns can start to emerge that connect a feeling with a food; bringing the connection into much-needed light. When you can see correlations, your awareness expands, offering you space for new choices.
  • A symbol of transformation: when you make new choices that support your goals of feeling better in your choices around food and fuel, it’s a transformation worth celebrating! Change can be challenging – and when you make the intentional choice to choose something different for yourself, having a record of that transformation is such a sweetly empowering source of confidence and self-esteem.
  • Accountability: One of the main functions of coaching is supporting you—the client—in seeing the possible paths forward, then acting as a source of accountability in walking that path in a way that aligns with your goals and the change you want to see. The Food Journal is an incredible tool to elevate that accountability with both your coach and with yourself (remembering it’s about gentle honesty and transparency with yourself, instead of judgment, restriction, and forcing).

How to write a Food Journal

Download a sample of what a Food Journal entry can look like here. This can be re-created in a paper journal, or, if you work 1:1 with a Health Coach, they can provide this as a template for you to complete digitally or print + manually complete day by day. When it comes to writing your own, here are 5 tips to apply to your entries:

  • Be honest. Be as comprehensive and specific as possible. From meals made at home to eat out, sauces and dressings to portion size. Specifics help your Food Journal do its job.
  • Be kind…to yourself! This is a safe space for reflection; do your best to avoid overanalyzing or self-judgment.
  • Be creative. There’s no one way to keep a Food Journal – find a way, and a frequency, that works for you!
  • Be intuitive. Let this be a tool to heighten your self-understanding and intuition about what makes you feel healthiest and happiest. Your intuition will guide you – and can reveal interesting insights and patterns that you may want to discuss with a Health Coach.

Here’s to mindful eating!

When you know what works for your body, and what food makes you feel the way you want to, you can take the stress out of counting calories, or restricting yourself from certain foods, meals, or treats you love. When you eat by how you feel, you get to tap into a whole new, emotionally aware side of—and relationship with—food (an empowering place to be)!

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