Journaling can give you a lot of insight into your own life—from behaviors you need to adjust to happy memories you want to preserve. I’ve kept a journal throughout most of my life, but there was one area that I wanted a little more insight on: my diet. I stumbled upon a Goop article on food journaling and was instantly convinced to try it out for myself. I challenged myself to keeping a food journal for one month—this included writing down each day’s breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and any and all snacks in-between.
I was pretty apprehensive going into this challenge. I’ve never had a bad relationship with food, but keeping track of every little thing I ate? I was more than slightly convinced this was going to turn me into a neurotic eater. But looking back on the past month, it really didn’t have any sort of impact on my life, negative or otherwise.
I started out documenting the food I was eating in a very detailed way—down to how it was prepared and the time I ate it. I didn’t include calories and other nutritional information because, really, who needs that negativity in their life? But reading it back, it was obvious I was eager to start this month-long food journey. I also decided not to include drinks, which, looking back, was maybe not the smartest move. After all, I can’t say no to the occasional cocktail, Coca-Cola, or chai latte, and all of those have their fair share of calories. If I decide to take up food journaling at another point in my life, I’d change my methodology.
Including little notes next to certain days or specific meals was something I tended to do, as well. I must have had some type of day on April 17, because after documenting lunch (pizza, Chick-Fil-A nuggets, a chocolate milkshake), and dinner (pasta and a cookie), all I wrote in capital letters was “CHEAT DAYS ARE IMPORTANT.” Which, for the record, they are. Or I would emphasize what I ate on certain days with exclamation points, smiley faces, and hearts, because it’s important not to take life too seriously, OK?
If there’s one glaring takeaway from this whole experience, it’s how much I love eggs. Without fail, for (nearly) a month straight, I ate the same thing every morning: two scrambled eggs with Sriracha. This was usually followed up a few hours later with Greek yogurt: the healthiest, tastiest, and most filling second breakfast that exists, in my opinion. It was interesting to discover just how consistent my morning meals are.
Toward the end, I will admit, writing down everything I ate was starting to become tedious. Noticing my various eating patterns, and maybe it’s because I didn’t go into this with the intention of losing weight, didn’t have any particular influence on me one way or another. I’m more aware of why I eat the way I do, i.e., being able to tell which day was less than ideal (see: pizza and chocolate milkshake day above), but overall, I don’t think it’s caused a major shift in my life. This may mean changing up the way I food journal, such as starting to include drinks and more anecdotes as to why I ate a particular food or snack, but for now, I think I’ll stick to keeping my eating habits and daily journaling separate.