It’s no secret that stress levels across the country have spiked in the last few months. Stress can manifest in many ways, for many various reasons. Uncertainty and global crisis are understandable causes for stress, and the disruption they have brought to most of our routines and daily lifestyles has many people struggling to find balance in these times. For many, feelings of stress lead to additional snacking, baking, or general eating.
Many people struggle with eating well consistently, and one issue that stands out for many is emotional eating. For most people, it is the leading cause of abnormal weight gain, as they end up compensating for emotional distress by sitting down for a snack they otherwise wouldn’t tend to reach for. Often this is in the form of mindless or boredom eating, and typically consists of items like sweets, baked goods, or junk food. Have you found your eating habits on the decline over the past few weeks? If so, stress eating may be getting the best of you.
When I begin working with my clients, I generally ask them if they have ever kept a food journal. The second question to follow that is whether they’ve also documented their moods along side their foods. Doing this can offer a lot of insight and personal discovery about how our mental state is impacting our food choices, and how those food choices are affecting our daily struggles. It usually doesn’t take long to connect the dots about what’s working and what’s not working for their bodies This can present in a variety of ways, such as noticing a pattern of when they are experiencing headaches, bloating, constipation, or fatigue.
Keeping a Food & Mood Journal doesn’t have to be hard. My clients all have access to my coaching app, that allows them to enter these details on their phone and share them with me in real time. You could also practice this in a small notebook or in the notes section of your phone.
Every time you eat anything, you need to write down your state of mind in your food journal. Were you feeling tired, upset, depressed, happy or energetic? Just writing a few words about how you felt at the time you decided to eat can make a world of difference when it comes time to analyze your eating behaviors.
While your emotions are a good starting point, if you want to get even more in depth in your journal, you should go ahead and make that extra effort. At the end of each day, make a note about what happened during that day. Were the events good or bad? Did they lead to you eating more than you normally would have?
Once you analyze your emotions in regard to your hunger levels and how often you eat your meals, you may be able to find a pattern which you can use to improve your outcomes. Maybe you’ll find that you eat more when you’re depressed, even if you do not feel that hungry. Or perhaps you will find that you bolster happy days with food to make you feel even better.
The ultimate goal of any food journal you create is to be able to track your dietary patterns to see what needs to be changed if you hope to lose weight, or simply to improve the way your body functions and feels each day. While the core of your food journal should be based on what you eat and how much of it you ate, you should also take the time to write about your state of mind, how often you eat, and where you have your meals. While these facts may seem useless at first, they can provide you with a number of interesting observations about what changes may need to be made.
If you have struggled to fuel yourself well, I would love to support you in finding solutions that serve you well. My upcoming webinar, Master Meal Planning, is a free event that is designed to help you ditch the overwhelm and feed your family well with less stress. If you haven’t registered for this webinar or to receive the recording after the event, you can do so here.
If you are ready to go all in, dive deep into your personal needs, and peel back the layer to discover food freedom and a healthier, long-term lifestyle, send me a message so we can chat about the options for private and personalized coaching.