Whether 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:
On toilet paper
On paper pulled from a waste bin with dried food on it
Written on one’s hand
Not given to me. “I forgot.”
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.
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:
MAINTAIN GOOD HEALTH
Incorporate ALL the foods I liked
Utilize technology to make the effort simple and NOT TIME CONSUMING
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?