A Photo Food Journal To Improve Your Eating Habits
After working with dozens of people to improve their health and well-being, I’ve discovered a very useful tool to help change deeply ingrained habits.
A lot of guys compulsively snack, eat well during the week but then the wheels come off during the weekend, or simply binge eat far more food than they actually need.
What’s confusing is how can an otherwise smart and well-functioning individual not make simple changes?
The reason is there is unconscious programming running the show.
So how can you change your unconscious programs?
Part of the answer is to make your unconscious habits conscious. To create awareness.
So how do you create awareness of unconscious eating habits? And how can you improve your eating habits in just 1-minute a day, which sounds incredibly dubious?
A photo food journal is the answer.
Of course, a photo food journal does not make the changes for you. You must be ready and willing to make the changes.
Reasons To Keep A Photo Food Journal
1. Pattern Interrupt
A photo food journal is a pattern interrupt, which means it interrupts your habit or pattern. It causes you to stop and think before cleaning off the box of chocolate chip cookies. This helps you make your unconscious habits conscious, which is huge for changing deeply ingrained habits.
A habit loop consists of a (1) cue, (2) routine, and (3) reward. A cue might be the smell or sight of a chocolate chip cookie – or it could even be a stressful situation. The routine maybe you pick it up with your lunch. Then the reward will be eating it.
Taking photos of your food during the routine phase helps you create awareness so that you see how the entire habit loop works. With awareness, you can make changes.
A photo food journal is excellent to help you keep accountable.
It’s one thing to say, “I ate really well last week.” It’s another to actually see what you’ve eaten. In other words, a photo food journal is clear documentation of your eating habits. In many ways, it’s more helpful than using a calorie tracking app in that you can see what you’re eating and how you’re eating it (is the food on a plate, the size of the plate, a snack in your hand etc.)
For some, this internal accountability is enough to change their habits. For many, however, external accountability leads to more significant changes.
3. Simple & Easy
You always have your phone wherever you go, so it’s very accessible. And taking a photo with your phone takes about 5-10 seconds. So a photo food journal is simple, fast, and easy.
Calorie tracking apps can be time-consuming because you must input all the separate ingredients and amounts of your meals. Using a calorie tracking app for a few days can be useful because it helps you learn more detail about your food intake.
But for many busy guys, using a calorie tracking app is not very practical and far more tedious than a photo food journal without many of the benefits.
Example Photo Food Journal From my Fitness App
Cathy Rogers who is a mother of 4 from Canada completed my Habit Program and lost 40lb. She struggled with sugar cravings and had a diet of many processed and heavy foods.
Cathy graciously allowed me to publish some of his photo food journals so you can see what it looks like. Her eating habits radically changed from when she started. She had already been sharing her journal for several weeks, so this reflects significant improvements.
Cathy Photo Food Journal
You can write a title schema to create more awareness of your habits: (optional)
(1) meal type (2) location (3) emotion (4) food quality score from 1 to 3, and (5) hunger level from 1 to 5. So an example would be “Breakfast, At home, Tired, 3 ”.
By getting feedback on her photo food journal, she was able to make small changes from week to week that added up to massive changes.
To be clear, Cathy is 100% responsible for her results. I simply provided her a system, guidance, and accountability so she could transform herself with greater success.
How To Make The Most Of Your Photo Food Journal
1. Commit to taking photos of everything you eat for 14-days (or more)
In the first week, 0% of people who have started a photo journal and shared them with me took photos of everything they ate. Either they forgot once or twice or felt embarrassed or uncomfortable. It’s ok if you’re not perfect, just stick with it.
There may be social situations where you feel uncomfortable taking a photo of your food. Consider making light of the situation. You are doing an “experiment”. Whether you keep a photo food journal for 1-week or a few months, it’s not the rest of your life.
Committing to a habit program, like mine help you make that shift and commitment necessary to take this seriously. Otherwise, life gets in the way and there will be a million reasons (excuses) not to keep it.
2. Consider external accountability for significant changes
You do not need external accountability to make improvements. Just keeping a photo food journal can help.
With that said, when it comes to body transformation, I’ve found that more accountability creates better results.
Taking photos of everything you eat and sending them to a coach can make even tough guys squirm. It can be very uncomfortable. By embracing this discomfort, incredible results can be achieved.
External accountability is self-serving because we have a 12-week program where you can send in your photo food journals to me in our app. It also works, which is why I offer this to you.
A photo food journal can extend to help you change other habits like drinking coffee or alcohol, or simply other habits you may want to change.