Two Approaches to Food Journaling

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In addition to working with professional athletes like Olympian Alexi Pappas to clean up and fine-tune nutrition needs, dietitian Pamela Nisevich Bede has helped all kinds of athletes tackle all kinds of diet and lifestyle goals. Some, like Lindsey G. below, approach food journaling with a lighter touch, daily listing foods and habits and gleaning insight from the big picture. Others, like the Katie G. example below, have a more nuanced diet and benefit from recording more detail, specific amounts, and macronutrient breakdown. The good news is there is no one way to approach food and diet—and no one way to journal!

Both Lindsey and Katie have worked with Pamela and used her food journal and habit tracker: Sweat. Eat. Repeat.: The 90-Day Playbook to Change Your Food Habits, Improve Your Energy, and Reach Your Goals. Take a look at how they approach food journaling for their specific goals and needs.

Lindsey G.

Busy working mom of two, she has completed several marathons, including Boston.

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Why she journals? Lindsey works with Pamela Nisevich Bede to improve diet and also fuel-timing. Through months of talking with Pamela and writing in her food journal, Lindsey found that changing up her pre-run and racing fuel strategy was most impactful.

“Running has always been a huge part of my life, but now because of Pam, I enjoy it more than I ever have. I may be getting older but I’m still running, and I actually feel better than I did 10 years ago.”

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The impact of a cleaner diet

Note in Lindsey’s journal pages how much her diet changes before and after targeting specific nutrition goals. Having a smart nutrition plan and the accountability of recording in a journal helped bring about real change. As Lindsey moved to healthier choices and started removing some vices, she almost immediately felt better on her training runs—more confident from start to finish, with no energy dips. “I definitely felt stronger and more ready for race day.”

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Early on in the journaling process
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Starting to eat more healthily and feeling better

Targeting habits

Lindsey wanted to focus on the goal of improving fuel-timing, so she used the Sweat. Eat. Repeat. monthly habit tracker to prioritize that goal for a month. Note how she improves in this area as the month goes on. Other habits like avoiding the work candy bowl, eating more veggies, and drinking more water also got better as the month went on. Marking these habits over time reinforced her goals and helped her to solidify what she wanted to improve. Without focusing on perfection and complete success for every habit, the monthly tracker was a tool for Lindsey to connect her goals to actuality, to enforce them in real life.

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Weekly review

Lindsey’s weekly reviews helped her put to words what she was experiencing with her diet change. “I feel better when I skip Diet Coke and eat less junk. Duh.” Accounting for even the obvious benefits, her weekly recap reminded her of why she was making a change, how it was impacting her performance, and was the encouragement she needed to keep up that positive change for the next week.

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Katie G.

A runner, former collegiate soccer player, teacher, mom, and wife of an Air Force pilot

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Why she journals? Katie has worked with Pamela Nisevich Bede for years in an effort to introduce more healthy foods, increase her nutrients, and eliminate allergens. Katie wants to improve her diet to be her best self and best mom.

“Pam is so incredibly knowledgeable and real. She has helped me in so many aspects of my life—from how to navigate the grocery store to how to lean down while maximizing my energy, from fueling myself to understanding how to nourish my baby girl. She understands the challenges of a busy lifestyle and offers real, practical solutions.”

Detailed tracking and macro mix focus

Katie is working on a macronutrient distribution of 40/30/30 (carb/protein/fat) and has a goal of high-nutrient density. Note how detailed she is and how her food journal allows her to record precise information and see progress in the minutiae. Not everyone can be so specific or detailed, but for Katie, she is able to follow a tight diet plan and record everything that helps her achieve her goals.

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Weekly review

Staying pretty close to her target macro mix of 40/30/30, Katie ends her week successfully: 43% carb, 23% protein, 34%. One of the best parts of food and habit tracking is the Week Review and the chance to see wins and losses. Katie’s wins and losses reveal that she can acknowledge how some things are going better and that there’s more she’d like to work on. Noting what she is proud of can be the inspiration for her to keep at it!

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A better tomorrow

Moving forward in the week ahead, Katie would like to boost her protein intake and reduce fat slightly. Her plan is to include more lean protein and a few less indulgent foods, in order to nail the 40/30/30 macro mix in the coming weeks. As a busy mom, she acknowledges that she needs to start doing more week-long meal planning rather than daily trips to the store (with toddler in tow!).  “I need to have healthy snacks on hand rather than empty calorie, hangry choices.”

In Sweat. Eat. Repeat., registered dietitian Pamela Nisevich Bede will help you take charge of your diet. Over her 90-day guided program, Bede can help you improve your nutrition as well as your habits and attitudes about food.