BUT I DON’T WANT TO TRACK MY FOOD!

cartoon diet trackingWhether it’s weight loss, diabetes, gastrointestinal problems or even cancer doctors and nutritionists usually request a “food log” documenting the foods you eat. The patient/consumer views this “assignment” as a PUNISHMENT for developing the condition they present with. It is often met with great resistance by the individual required to complete this assignment. Food logs have been given to me in the following manner:

.

  1. On toilet paper

  2. On paper pulled from a waste bin with dried food on it

  3. Written on one’s hand

  4. Not given to me. “I forgot.”

  5. Entirely fabricated to avoid criticism

It was a rare occasion when a detailed, clearly organized, neatly written or computer generated spreadsheet was provided. Rather than confronting the individual with their lack of effort which would have likely worsened an existing “ATTITUDE” problem, I would smile, look them directly in the eyes and ask, “would you like me to help you?” Although a typical response might have been, “I wouldn’t have done “this” if I didn’t want your help!,” I would pause while maintaining my smile and ask a second question, “do you want my help to succeed, or want my help to prove to yourself that working with a doctor failed also?” This question caught most people off guard leaving them quiet and searching for answers. I maintained my smile so the question, although confrontational, did not produce a defensive response. It was an honest, CARING question to help the patient recognize we needed to start a plan where the two of us could stand on the “same side of the fence.” Posturing to determine our hierarchy of power would NEVER help achieve the lifestyle modification objective. We needed to make certain an “obstruction” did not stand between us in the form of poor communication.

johncmaxwell451128

Those who wanted my help were surprised by my first step. I would show patients MY FOOD LOG and clear the air of any misconceptions associated with keeping a food log. I explained that I did NOT suffer from health maladies. The food log provided an easy method to understand whether or not I was providing my body the essential nutrients needed. The object was to:

  1. MAINTAIN GOOD HEALTH

  2. Incorporate ALL the foods I liked

  3. Utilize technology to make the effort simple and NOT TIME CONSUMING

  4. Have an understanding of my eating pattern in case health issues developed. This log could help me address these problems with nutritional modifications (naturally) rather than “requiring” (UNnatural) pharmaceutical intervention as a first line of “attack.”

When patients saw I kept a food log (since 1995) and the purpose for keeping it, they began accepting the idea of a food log with less resistance. It provided them with INFORMATION to HELP guide their choices rather than chastise them for enjoying unhealthy foods. They began to understand the food log showed them:

how to INCLUDE unhealthy foods into their life, rather than creating guilt for enjoying them.

This new understanding created a whole new mindset. The food log was NO LONGER VIEWED AS A PUNISHMENT. In fact, it became a game to balance food selection while satisfying taste and desires. All of a sudden a “punishment” became “a tool” to help people achieve successful weight management AND HEALTHIER OUTCOMES. This new “food tool” also helped people reduce blood pressure, blood sugar levels, high cholesterol levels, indigestion, gastrointestinal issues, etc… “Punishment” became the LAST WORD associated with this new tool that empowered the patient to develop better control over their lives.

I am no different than you. I like all those unhealthy foods and would consume large amounts of them without various tools to help guide me to making better decisions. The good news is, as we take control of our lives and discover greater purpose and meaning along the way, our need for comfort style food decreases. As we achieve greater happiness and balance in life our past destructive patterns of behavior no longer fill a void.

Maybe it’s time to stop “butting heads” with the concept of a food log and participate in a solution that creates and maintains LONG TERM RESULTS. There are too many benefits to gain (including weight loss and maintenance, cardiac health, prevention of diabetes, stronger immune function, better gastrointestinal health, lower risk of cancer, etc…) to resist in defiance without an alternative meaningful solution.

When you wake up tomorrow to face the day, what action steps will you be taking to change the outcome of where your LIFE IS HEADING? Simple action steps like food logging can impact your life more than you realize.

Tomorrow, you will also be confronted by the morning mirror regardless of the path you choose.

Which face would you rather have staring back at you?

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30 comments

  1. Especially liked the part, “as we take control of our lives and discover greater purpose and meaning along the way, our need for comfort style food decreases.” That’s so true.
    I never actually tried keeping a food log (mostly from laziness rather than a negative attitude towards it) but after reading this perhaps I’ll stir myself to give it a try. While I’m blessed in not really liking most of the “bad stuff” my diet frequently gets boring and I’m sure there are many good things I could be enjoying if I put a bit more effort in.My daughter and grandson will be moving into their own place soon which is the perfect time to branch out and further improve my diet with only me to cook for again, so think I’ll give it a try. (Good people handling skills by the way).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Choosing a free computer application might be a good solution. You don’t have to do ANY calculations. You just enter your food choice and quantity and the program handles ALL the math. After overcoming a bit of the initial learning curve, it becomes quite easy to do. It takes me less than 5 minutes each day to enter my foods (and exercise.)
      Thank you for your feedback and compliment. I appreciate it very much.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. thanks for the suggestion. It may be a bit hard for me though I’m still a bit of a tech baby and go paper for most things. lol!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I can COMPLETELY relate. As long as there are children in this world, I fear no computer. They can make computers do EVERYTHING I need them to do at the reasonable price of extending their bedtime by 1 hour! ๐Ÿ˜€ . MY FITNESS PAL is a good free application that is relatively easy to learn and can be done from a computer AND phone. You might want to check it out. If you need help, feel free to let me know.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t done the food log thing. I will discuss it with my wife. For the last four weeks my wife and I sit down on Sunday evenings to plan the menus of the week. We have found this helpful. Planning a healthy diet while we are not hungry and less susceptible to making the wrong choices. Thanks for this suggestion.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Your Sunday sit downs is a great idea. It brings you together planning events that are good for both of you. This is a great approach to overcoming food cravings AND providing healthy nutritious choices instead. Spread the word; it is an idea that can help many families!

      Liked by 3 people

  3. I think this is a great idea and I believe we would all be surprised how many good foods we may be missing out on. when we actually record what we eat each day. I will do one this week. Thanks Jonathan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s much easier to do than most people realize and reveals important information to a doctor or nutritionist when helping their patients improve health imbalances. This would be an excellent tool for children to use in school to learn about food and eating patterns. It would also teach them the impact food plays on overall good health.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a great idea! There are phone apps too. Wonderful to model how doable it is.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re absolutely correct. Phone apps also offer a method to log foods as they are eaten. This makes it easier than trying to remember everything eaten at the end of a day.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I knew someone who used a phone app to track her food and calories as she was very athletic. She was able to obtain and maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle. Incredible. It worked!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It works, and more importantly it plays an important role in maintaining BETTER HEALTH. I used to teach people how to incorporate ALL the foods they enjoyed into this process. This played a major role in achieving greater compliance. There is no greater motivator than incorporating the foods you love and losing weight and improving blood chemistry lab values. They also enjoyed medicine cabinets that no longer contained monthly refillable prescriptions. Truly a self empowering experience!

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Hmmm, maybe food logging/planning should go on my goal list for next week.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It helps keep us more accountable with our choices. Knowing you have to enter something that will likely ruin “the statistics” makes a person think twice before committing to a bad decision. It is much easier than people believe once the learning curve is conquered. It’s nice NOT to have to calculate ANYTHING. The app or software program does all the work. You just have to tell it what you ate!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I use fat secret free app on my phone, tracks my weight and food intake…that’s all I am interested in tracking at this time…but keeps me honest and does all the work…LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll bet it helps with accountability as well. Keep up the good work. The journey will ABSOLUTELY be worth the outcome.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I am considering a return to food logging. I shall be taking myself to task with a juice based diet from next week so will probably start myself accountability on my iPhone from then.
    They are a great idea and pointless if fabricated for sure but it is the nature of the beast. I tried many times prior to my “epiphany” but always ended up with a lie because I wanted to do it and be done so I could get out and get away.
    Ridiculous now I think about it but probably all part of my mental state back then…..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I find it simple to do and time efficient. Keeps me on track and accountable. Would love to hear your feedback if you choose to begin logging after your juice week.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sure thing Doc. Weirdly looking forward to the Juice week….!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I log my food (on and off). Nothing to what you’ve done! That’s impressive. Journaling is a great idea, I think i’m just lazy. Hahaha….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I find it difficult to place the word lazy and Koko in the same sentence. Since you are so disciplined, it might not be a tool you need to maintain balance in your nutrition plan. I’ll bet your mind’s creativity burns more calories than most people’s 30 minute treadmill walk! ๐Ÿ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hahaha! Funny you say that…I used to train police dogs and one of the breed lines was called “Woton”. Even in rest you can see their minds work. I was able to keep one of the dogs for my own. “Bully” what an amazing animal he was. Any way, that’s one of my nicknames…Woton. Thank you for making me remember some really happy times! Have a wonderful day. Koko:)

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Asking that 2nd question (while maintaining the smile) sounds like a good way to encourage logging: too discomforting to go in one ear and out the other; not so discomforting as to provoke defensiveness.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is my naive belief we undertake jobs and careers and commit ourselves to performing these tasks at the highest standards possible. As a doctor, people are coming to me (generally) for concerning issues. Finding a balance between “sugar coating” and making accusations requires an understanding that each individual is different and requires a unique presentation to create a desired outcome. This skill is just as important as being a good diagnostician. What is the benefit of determining disease or dysfunction if you can’t assist the patient in overcoming obstacles necessary to achieving a positive outcome?

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I don’t know if I would want either face staring at me LOL They both look a bit cuckoo lol
    Food logging definitely gives us a better understanding of what is needed to boost our health. Without it, we would be working blindly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I also hope people learn that food logging is NOT A PUNISHMENT! Many think it is only for those with health conditions. This is a false belief. It is for those wishing to use a tool to help insure they’re providing their body’s good quality nutrition, and proper calorie consumption without creating food limitations within their meal planning. It is one of the best guides to helping people INCLUDE ALL THE FOODS THEY LOVE without suffering heath consequences as a result.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. With you 100%! That is exactly why I promote it, too. To include foods people enjoy to maintain a balance:)

        Liked by 1 person

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