What I Learned From Tracking My Food Intake Every Day

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What I Learned From Tracking My Food Intake Every Day
I thought keeping a food diary was only for weight loss, but what I learned in a week extended beyond counting calories.


Olivia Tarantino
October 16, 2018

Do you ever stop to think about what you’re eating? I mean really think about what you’re eating: Why did you choose that chicken dish? Did you just order the first menu item that sounded good?

It’s easy to mindlessly eat every meal. We have so much else going on in our lives that spending time understanding how much food or which foods we eat at any given moment seems like an extra responsibility we just don’t need. I’ll admit that even as an editor for a nutrition website, I sometimes succumb to the “food is fuel” motto and just end up eating whatever I can get my hands on the quickest.

Besides the tediousness of this additional evaluation, I reckoned that because I’m a relatively healthy person of a normal weight, I didn’t really need to pay attention to what I was eating. But that’s not the best way to go about your diet.

When one of the classes I was taking for the Cornell University Healthy Eating and Living Nutrition Certificate asked me to track my food intake for a week, it taught me lessons I never knew I could learn.

So, I set out to track my food intake every day for a week—calories, fat, and all. Keep reading to see what I learned, and if you’re considering doing the same, follow up this read with these 10 Tips for Keeping a Food Journal for Weight Loss.

I’ve always heeded the advice to cook more at home, eat out rarely, and keep intake of processed, packaged foods to a minimum — but boy is that tiresome to track! I used how much butter here? And what about the amount of olive oil I drizzled on those veggies? Was it two tablespoons or three? My food tracking life was particularly harder because I’m someone who makes up recipes from scratch and doesn’t measure ingredients.

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