Food diaries hold a massive amount of information and most of it isn’t about the food.
When I ask for someone to keep a food diary, the person who benefits the most from it isn’t generally me, but the client.
By the time the client is handing over their diary they are more often than not explaining to me what they realised they’ve been doing, how life gets in the way of them eating properly, and how they can see they need to change their habits. It helps them to prepare for their session in many respects, and enable us both to create a plan that will help move them forward which they are ready to apply to their lifestyle.
Diet diaries come in all shapes and sizes I’ve found over the years, some come with it in a tidy notebook, a favoured diary, a scrappy piece of paper, scribbled on the back on an envelope, or photographs of meals and drinks, and emailed lists.
I’m sometimes asked to send out a template and for those who ask I do, but I rarely do this automatically because how you present your diary to me, tells me a lot about you and your relationship with food, and that’s important.
These diet diaries remind me of being an artist and keeping sketchbooks, reminders of life or in this case a lifestyle, the individuality is apparent and insightful on so many more levels than just about what you ate and drank for dinner. The conversation that comes from the diet diary shows how life is lived, and lifestyle changes are needed.
When I don’t get a diet diary this is just as informative. What we do or don’t say often speaks volumes about ourselves.
Why am I so focused on this as well as the foods you are eating? Because this tells me so much about you and diet is just one aspect of health, and for many of my clients they can identify when they are eating healthy and unhealthy foods, so for them it’s rarely about the diet. The diet may need changing but it’s more likely to be other lifestyle factors that are impacting on it, stress for instance or some other factor in your life that is affecting how you are eating rather than the other way around.
Awareness is a fantastic tool, call the diet diary an awareness tool and keep one yourself occasionally, not to beat yourself up about what you are eating and your transgressions but to observe patterns in your life that you might like to put energy into changing.
Use a diet diary to help you focus on the good things you are doing, and to see one area that you can apply a change to consistently, the key is consistency.
One good thing done daily over time can make a large difference over 10 things hardly done at all.