EATING ISN’T A NUMBERS GAME: THE FEEL-GOOD FOOD JOURNAL TO A HEALTHIER YOU

As 2015 is quickly winding to a close, we are beginning to feel the promise, excitement + anticipation of the new year approaching. With the new year comes the perfect opportunity to reflect on the last year — what we’ve accomplished, if any of our priorities have shifted [or completely changed!], + what we’d like to work on over the next 365 days. Truthfully, this reflection can be really challenging — it’s all too tempting to get down on yourself for not accomplishing every resolution on your list for 2015. That’s why this year, we’re encouraging you to focus on making your goals//resolutions for 2016 attainable + realistic — something you can commit to from start to finish.

In several of our CHAARG Chapter groups on Facebook, we get a lot of questions about tracking food — whether it be calories, macros, food + workouts, weight, etc. There are countless ways to track your food intake + exercise, but how many are truly maintainable? Not many. It’s all too easy to start a food journal + quickly fall out of the habit. Why? Often times, because they’re too complex + require too much work on your end.

The best way to ensure consistency with writing in a food journal [or any new year’s resolution] is to keep it simple + focus on the right components. When it comes down to it, counting every calorie or macro may not be the answer to getting to the root of your eating habits or making positive changes to your diet. We are tricked into thinking 100-calorie snack packs + major calorie deficits are the *answer* to looking our best — but truth is, they are far from the best solution. A more nutrient-dense option, like a 300 calorie green smoothie, will get where you want to be + in a healthier way.

Instead of spending minutes on end calculating every calorie you’ve eaten, or grams of fat, protein + carbs in each + every snack//meal, try this setup that we love:

Daily Food Journal

MEAL // 

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, etc.

TIME STARTED// 

The moment you sat down to dig in.

TIME COMPLETED//

The time you finished your meal

WHERE//

Where the meal was eaten — be specific! Were you sitting down? At a table, on the couch?

ACTIONS//

Did you eat solo, with family, or while scrolling through social media?

I ATE//

Give us the best description of your #Eeeeeats

FEELINGS//

How you felt while eating your meal + afterwards — Satisfied? Too full? Groggy? Energized? Happy? Guilty? etc.

NOTES//

Any other points you’d like to add.

Rather than focusing on specific numbers, the format above focuses on how the food you eat makes you feel. ++ When it comes down to it, limiting yourself to 1,200 calories a day isn’t what’s going to make you feel better inside-out — the foods you choose to fuel your body will.

Wondering what an *actual* entry looks like? We can help with that ; ). Check out our example — 

body_

MEAL: Breakfast

TIME STARTED: 8:05 am

TIME COMPLETED: 8:12 am

WHERE: Sitting down at my kitchen table, with overhead lighting

ACTIONS: Solo, but scrolling through Twitter + listening to music

I ATE: Black Coffee + Green Smoothie [spinach, protein, banana, apple, almond milk].

FEELINGS: I feel mostly satisfied after eating this meal! I have been eating some variation of this breakfast nearly every morning for over a year now, + I still never get tired of it.

NOTES: I know that I usually feel more satisfied after eating when I place my full attention on eating + how good the food tastes. Next time, I should put my phone down + savor every bite!

Even if you never considered keeping a food journal, or feel that it’s *not for you*, we encourage you to give it a try for just one week — you may be surprised with the difference it makes to reflect on *how* the food you eat makes you feel instead of the numbers behind it. Eating should never be a numbers game — it’s a tool to help make memories, feel comforted, + lead our lives to be the best versions of ourselves. Now enjoy those #eeeeeats!

 

+xo Natalie [@natalie_inchaarg] + Jessica [@jessicasmith_inchaarg],

VirtCHAARG girls from Grand Rapids + New York

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