Why Keep A Food Diary?

I started my Healthy Eating Instagram page called @theskinnyganesha on 1st February 2020 for motivation, really for myself. 

@theskinnyganesha Healthy Eating Insta Page

Like most people, I too begin the new year with a resolve to improve my health. This improvement often starts with changing what I eat. A food diary can be a useful tool in this process. It can help you understand your eating habits and patterns, and help you identify the foods — good and not-so-good — you eat on a regular basis. 

Healthy eating too always features on top of all my new year resolution lists. This year I wanted to make myself more accountable by having an online food journal that I could look at to see how I’ve fared and help me reduce my junk food eating habits. 

After a couple of weeks I realised that there’s also the benefit of being part of a more intimate community. I already have a four-year old Insta page dedicated to my dogs called @to_forgive_is_canine. But now I have a separate part of my profile dedicated to food journaling and I don’t have to be worried that my friends and followers who just want to see dog pictures will be turned off.

I also found that a large number of women use Instagram to record and share what they eat, in order to achieve their fitness goals. 

I’ve always been a visual learner and Instagram is just pictures. There are no posts about politics. It’s easy to navigate, with no chaos or clutter. The accounts you follow and your feed reflect your interests. 

As I get older, I have had to watch what I eat unlike in my teens when the money was scarce and trips to eat out few and far between.  Now, I’m inundated with lunches and dinners and buffets. Food = entertainment and it’s very hard to resist. And there’s always a million excuses for no exercise.

 One habit that’s helped me is to log what I eat on the myfitnesspal app – it makes me feel accountable. In the past, just seeing the amount of food I’d managed to consume in a day in spite of exercising restraint shocked me. And the days that I’d gone overboard I was too guilty to even log them on the app. 

With Instagram, it’s in my face. I’m seeing it all the time. When I eat something bad and I see someone making something wonderful, I say, why did I do that? It keeps me inspired. 

I love following some of the whole food plant based accounts because food pictures that create cravings for tasty, healthy food help. When I see something so colourful, fresh, mouthwatering and appetizing, I’m more likely to try it, and then I get hooked on eating well.

Plus, having a visual account of everything I eat in a day — both in terms of volume and quality — can help me spot trouble.

Of course it’s hard to remain honest about what I ate and naturally feel reluctant to photograph food that would be perceived as undesirable. Like I just ate some potato chips because I was feeling snacky – but didn’t post that. Guilty! 

But so far it’s helped me maintain desired behaviors and encouraged me to continue to be mindful about my health and the nutritional value of the foods I eat.