How Keeping a Food Journal Can Lower Your Cholesterol
If you’ve just been diagnosed with high cholesterol (>240), then you’re probably wondering what all of your options are to help combat this occurrence. You’ve probably heard it all before: Eat more fruits and veggies, eat more fish, take an omega-3 supplement, exercise more, and so on and so on.
Well, the good news is that all of these things are excellent at helping you to lower your cholesterol. The bad news is that doing these things means that you’re going to have to introduce brand new habits into your day to day life. Breaking old habits is an extremely difficult thing to do. Especially if you’ve been doing them for a very long time. So, getting your mind right and breaking the habit is key to successfully lowering your cholesterol.
One of the best ways to help you with your new found healthy eating habits is to keep a food journal. You can use it to write down all of your meals, as well as any snacks that you happen to eat during the day as well. You can make a daily list, including the date and time that you ate each food. For example:
- 8:30 am Two egg whites, 1 piece of toast w/jelly, and a cup of orange juice
- 11:00 am A few pieces (4 oz) of pineapple’s
- 12:15 pm Tuna fish sandwich, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, and a cup of green tea
- 4:30 pm Salmon with asparagus, and 2 cups of water
Keeping a food journal such as this will allow you to have a visual of all of your eating habits. This makes it much easier for you to keep your adherence, as well as to gain adeptness with your new healthy eating habits. Because this is not an easy process. Lowering your cholesterol will take a lot of effort on your part, but you can indeed make it happen, as long as you stay persistent, positive, and resilient.
Another great benefit to using a food journal to help you improve your cholesterol is that by doing so, it will make you less likely to “cheat” on your diet. This is due to the fact that you’ll now know that you’ll have to actually write down ALL of your eating habits throughout the day, even those 3 snicker bars that you deeply regret scarfing down during your lunch break today. Having the foreknowledge that you’re going write down everything you eat makes you less likely to eat unhealthy foods.
Because let’s face it, what can be worse than losing your will power to the point to where you caved and went to Popeye’s to get a huge bucket of chicken and biscuits? Well, reliving the shameful experience a second time by putting pen to paper and ignominiously writing down your mess up, that’s what.
Add notes to your food journal
You can even take things further by allotting yourself a little space after each meal to write a brief note or two. You can use this space to reflect how you felt after you ate the meal. Did you feel great? Energized? Hungry? Full? Lethargic? Nauseated? Doing so can give you a better understanding of how certain foods affect your body, as well as your mood.
This will give you a clear indication of which foods you need to throw out or which foods you need to add in. For example, you may begin to notice that certain foods make you feel more lethargic than others, perhaps due to there not being enough carbohydrates included in your meal. You can also take it a step further by jotting down how many milligrams of cholesterol are in each meal that you eat.
This can come in handy for you as time goes on. You can use it as a reference for when you get your cholesterol tested in the future. If your cholesterol seems to be stagnating in the high range, then perhaps you need to alter your diet by eating more heart healthy foods. You may also notice that your cholesterol is significantly lower than it was when you last got tested. This is intimation that you’re doing the right things and that you should try and maintain your eating habits.
Journal your thoughts
Besides journaling your eating habits, you can also journal your thoughts as well. You may be wondering, “How on Earth can keeping a dairy help me lower my cholesterol?” Well, the truth is that many people quit diets or exercise programs due to them feeling “fed-up” with everything. This can happen largely due to an inability to vent their concerns because some problems may seem too embarrassing to share with a family member or a friend.
This is where journaling can come in. You can simply journal your thoughts at the end of each day. You can talk about any cravings that you may have had, or perhaps any cravings that you overcame too. You may want to simply write down how you feel, given your new diagnosis and any struggles you may be facing with your new diet and exercise program.
Too many times we internalize problems and concerns that we have. Though, we think we’re protecting ourselves by not dwelling on those issues, we may in fact be adding more fuel to the fire by letting it eat away at us in the back of our minds. Who knows where your pen will take you. You may actually gain a new perspective that will make you feel better, which will make the entire process of lowering your cholesterol and improving your heart health an easier one as well.