Writing down what you eat and when along with how you are feeling at that moment can help you spot emotional triggers.
By keeping a food journal, you will be able to spot habits in your eating. For example, if you write down, “4PM- made a trip to the vending machine and bought a Snickers- I feel so stressed out, this project will never get done on time and I need to leave the office at 5 today. I just can’t get a break”.
Most people would immediately see that being stressed causes them to make a poor choice. Taking the time to write down how you are feeling and what you are eating puts it in black and white, the act of writing also forces you to slow down and brings mindfulness to the snack or meal.
The next time this person catches themselves headed to the vending machine, they may be able to stop and say, “I know what is going on here, I feel stressed and my habit is to head to the vending machine when I am stressed. Will eating a candy bar help me feel less stressed? Does eating a candy bar fit in my plan of making healthier choices? If candy won’t make me feel less stressed, what will? Hmmm, maybe a quick walk outside to take some deep breathes would help me to calm down, I’ll give it a try. It can’t hurt, might help.”
Keeping a food journal has been shown to help people reduce their daily calories by 10% or more. It also helps you keep track of how many fruits, vegetables and whole grains you are getting. Try keeping a journal for the next week and see what is revealed to you. You might have an “a-ha” moment.