If you’ve been trying to get back into healthy eating, you may have tracked your meals by making notes or plugging your daily calories into a website. This is great way to start, but you can take your meal tracking to a new level by using one of your strengths as an introvert — the power of observation.
If your mind is as busy as mine, it’s hard to keep track of what you’ve eaten in a day and remember everything. And what we eat can dramatically affect our mood. If you have headaches or feel tired, depressed, or irritated, your diet may be to blame.
Try using a Food and Mood journal to become more aware of — and more honest about! — the foods you eat on a daily basis. In addition to keeping track of what you consume, you can bring more awareness to how certain foods affect your mood and energy levels.
Through journaling, you may even discover that you have some food allergies or sensitivities. Some common food allergies are wheat, dairy, corn, eggs, certain meats, bananas, milk, soy, nuts, and seafood. To be the happiest and healthiest person you can be, you must know how certain foods can fuel or hurt you. Are the foods you’re eating stamped with the “healthy” seal of approval?
To get started, grab a journal of your choosing. Your journal can be an actual notebook or something on your tablet, laptop, or smartphone — use anything that will be convenient for you. You can even use this free online journal.
For about a week, write about how you feel both physically and emotionally after eating or drinking. When you have an ache, or when you feel fatigued, shaky, anxious or energized, reflect on what you’ve eaten that day and ask yourself what could have caused this feeling. Even “healthy” food can affect you negatively if your body can’t digest it well.
To determine if you truly have a food allergy or sensitivity, you should consult with a medical professional. However, after a while, you’ll be able to tell from your Food and Mood journal whether or not the foods you’re eating are giving you lasting energy (which is what you want!), a burst of energy followed by a crash, or if the foods are completely sucking the energy from you.
When I began keeping a Food and Mood journal, at the time, I was having rashes on my elbows consistently, I felt bloated and sleepy, and I was breaking out terribly. I found that wheat and dairy were the culprits. These foods also put me in a grumpy mood, which kept me from enjoying my day. However, for some people, these foods may not affect them negatively at all.
Once you start figuring out how certain foods make you feel, you may find that you don’t need to keep recording everything you eat. However, whenever you feel “off,” come back to this exercise for about a week to find your food culprits.
In my online community, Quiet Hearts, Healthy Life, Happy Girls, we’ll be taking the Food and Mood journaling challenge together starting July 20. Women and girls of all ages, you’re invited to join us! Click here to join our free community.
Image credit: Deviant Art
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