As you begin this coaching session, consider these two questions:
1. Is exercising regularly or eating a healthy diet the fastest way to increase your energy, improve your mood and lose weight?
2. Do you get more calorie benefit by going for a 30 minute run or drinking a glass of water instead of a 20 ounce soda, sports drink or juice?
VIDEO: Where to Begin
[In this video, I explain why the first thing to focus on, before exercise or anything else, is getting your healthy eating habits established, including the role of the nutrition system]
NEW SKILL: Keeping a Food Journal
A food journal is a simple diary of what you eat. Whenever you eat or drink something besides water, you record information such as what you ate, when, and an estimate of how much.
Why I Want You to Keep a Food Journal For at Least Seven Days
Having a clear picture of our eating habits is eye opening for most people. The journal creates a baseline from which we can make effective adjustments. [To be completed]
How to Keep a Food Journal
What to Record
Below are common entries to include in your food journal. I’ve listed them in order of importance. Always include at least the first four.
- How much: List the amount of the food/drink item. This might be measured in volume (1/2 cup), weight (2 ounces), or the number of items (12 chips).
- What kind: Write down the type of food/drink. Be as specific as you can.
- When: Keep track of the time of day you eat.
- Where: Make note of where you eat. If you are at home, write down the room. For instance, at the dining room table, in the kitchen, or on the sofa. If you are out, write down the name of the restaurant or if you are in the car.
- Who with: If you eat by yourself, write “alone.” If you are with friends or family members, list them.
- Activity: In this column, list any activities you do while you eat. You could be working, watching TV, or playing a game.
- Mood: You also should include how you feel when you eat. Are you happy, sad, or bored? Your mood can relate to your eating habits and help you change them.
A Few Rules to Keep in Mind
When keeping a food diary, some basic rules to follow are:
- Write everything down. Keep your diary with you all day. Write down everything you eat and drink, no matter how small it seems. Whether it’s a piece of candy, a small soda, or a big meal.
- Do it now. Don’t rely on your memory at the end of the day. Record your eating details as you go.
- Be specific. Record your food exactly how you eat it. If you have fried chicken strips, don’t just say chicken. Make sure you also include the extras. This could be gravy on your meat or dressing on your salad.
- Estimate amounts. If you have a piece of cake, estimate the size (2″ x 1″ x 2″). If you have vegetables, record how much you eat (1/4 cup). When you eat meat, a 3-ounce cooked portion is about the size of a deck of cards.
There’s an App for That!
There are several apps for your phone that make it really convenient to keep a food journal by just snapping pictures. Here’s one I particularly like, just search the app store for YouAte:
Coaching Session 2 Conclusion
Test Your Knowledge
[Three or four questions to test understanding to go here]