Reviewing Your Journal
It’s time to look at your food journal through a different lens.
Put your coach hat on.
A few things to keep in mind as you look back at your food journal:
- Set your mindset: Be honest, neutral, and objective. You’re a scientist gathering and analyzing data.
- Set your focus:
- You can look for just one or two things (such as how much you eat, or what your food choices were).
- Or, you can look for a more holistic, broad sense of “How am I doing here?” or “Are these choices generally moving me in the direction I want to go?”
- Look for patterns. For example, are you skipping meals earlier in the day, that could be leading to over-eating in the evening?
- Look at what matters to you right now. Rather than trying to solve for everything at once, focus on the one or two practices that serve you best.
- Consult with your coach if you’d like some specific guidance on what to analyze in your food journal.
Here are some things to look for.
You can look for one of them, some of them, or all of them. It’s your call for what’s best for you right now.
How consistent are you?
With the practices you’re working on …
- How often are you able to do planned daily practices?
- How well are you able to do them? What more might you need to learn or practice to improve?
- What helps you be more consistent? When do you have good moments or days? What contributes to that?
Do you need to do any troubleshooting or problem solving?
- Do certain blocks or obstacles seem to come up over and over? (e.g. running late at work, or feeling too tired to cook a healthy dinner, etc.)
- Do you feel “stuck” with improving or adjusting particular food choices?
How is your food quality?
- Are you eating mostly “real food”—i.e. relatively unprocessed, whole foods?
- Are you eating good quality food? Does this food nourish you and add value to your body? How so?
How much are you eating?
- Are you eating when you’re physically hungry?
- How much are you actually eating—counting all extra bites, nibbles, snacks, etc.?
- Does that food amount match your goals?
- How are you tracking or calibrating your portion sizes?
- Are there any “sneaky foods” that might be easy to forget? (e.g. a handful of nuts from the office snack jar?) How does the food make you feel? Do you notice any symptoms of food allergy or intolerance? Do you notice any trigger foods? Any red-light or yellow-light foods? What foods make you feel good?
As a coach, what advice would you give yourself?
Once you have reviewed and evaluated your food journals, use this information for action. Use it to make better choices in the future.
- What are you doing well?
- What’s helping you do well? (e.g. planning, sitting down to eat, etc.)
- What’s one small, specific improvement you could make in the next few days?
Remember, there’s no failure, only feedback.
Try a sample journal
It can often be way easier to solve other people’s problems.
Let’s take advantage of that with food journaling. Along with reviewing your own food journal, looking at someone else’s sample journal can help you practice analyzing as a neutral observer, without an emotional investment.
Here’s a sample food journal to try. You can use the right hand column to write your comments or add them directly to the PDF.
Sample Food Journal
Consider what kind of feedback you would want in this situation. For example:
- What is this client doing well? Why do you think that?
- What could this client improve? Why do you think that?
- What recommendations might you make for a beginner? What about a more advanced eater?
- What systems and processes might the client need to have in order to fulfill those recommendations? (For instance, would the client need practice with shopping, or meal prep, or making time, or something else?)
- Is any information missing? As a coach, what else might you want to know about this client and their daily actions?