Nutrition and Awareness
Another healthy habit is to raise awareness of nutrition patterns through a food diary. An easy way to track the food we eat (and beverages we drink) is to take photos of everything we consume. Nutrition tracking apps have also gotten easier to use and to help us log our food.
There’s a restaurant in our town that has a fried snickers and green tea ice cream. If you know you’re going to have to take a picture of that and, even report it back to a health coach, it may change your habits. The fried Snickers, the cake, the coffee drink with 1000 calories, may not happen as often if you had to share it with your nutritionist or accountability partner.
Keeping a food diary lets us look at our habits over time. Friend snickers and ice cream is great for a celebration. But, as my friend Charlie says, “it ain’t a party if it happens every day.” There’s a story from The Power of Habit that someone was eating a cookie every day at 3:00 pm and they didn’t remember it. They didn’t put the cookie event in their food diary, because they just went to another floor, grabbed the cookie, and ate it on autopilot.
We’ve talked about how sugar’s more addictive than cigarettes. This person would just walk down and get the cookie and forget that they even did it. If you’re taking a picture, if you’ve got a food diary and you’re reviewing the habits, it can help you keep track of nutrition and healthy in the longer-term.
One last comment on nutrition is to find what is right for you and the results you want to achieve. There is a lot of advice and promotion of different types of food and it can be difficult to sift through the noise. Sometimes it is helpful to think about the path your food has taken to get from its source to your plate. What all has gone into your food for you to be able to eat it today? Did it require a lot of fossil fuels to arrive at your table? Has it been treated kindly and with dignity on its journey to your plate? Do your personal values align with the values of the company that is serving you?
Food can be a very personal matter and people usually don’t want to take advice. Therefore, I think it is helpful to find a system that works for you and your family, and work within that system for few months to see its effect on your body, mind, and pocketbook.