It’s funny the moments that stick with us.
Those little snapshots in time where we can recall so clearly where we where, what we were wearing, who we were with, what we were doing, what we were thinking…especially when we also spend a fair amount of our lives wandering up and down the aisles of the grocery store, trying to remember that one item we were supposed to get. It recently took me 5 separate trips to the store to remember to get toilet paper. True story.
My tiramisu epiphany was one of those moments.
It was the first of March 2006, and I’d made my husband the birthday dinner and dessert he requested (it’s a tradition in our family), and we’d just finished a peaceful dinner together, as our 9 month-old was already in bed.
It was time for dessert—a tiramisu recipe I’d found in a University of Washington Husky Alum cookbook. By the way, this recipe is to die for…and sure to elevate your blood alcohol level. Go Huskies, lol!
About mid-way through dessert, I noticed the meal planner lying on the couch next to me that had come from The Firm’s kit I’d purchased back in November. I’d flipped through it recently, but was really less than thrilled about their diet recommendations—dessert was a granny smith apple, definitely a far sight from tiramisu!
Seeing the meal planner made my mind leapfrog to earlier in the day when I’d weighed myself, a little disappointed to find I’d only lost a pound since New Years, despite the fact that I’d been doing The Firm videos religiously and my stamina had improved dramatically. It also made me realize my pants weren’t fitting any better than they had been—I still felt ‘thick’ around the middle.
And it hit me like a ton of bricks: I just couldn’t exercise off my eating any longer.
In my 20’s, it was relatively easy to just exercise more to make up for eating indulgently. I wouldn’t lose weight without changing what I ate, but I could at least keep kind of an even keel (although, hindsight being 20/20, I doubt I was ever on an even keel).
After I turned 30 and had my first baby, all in the same year, this was no longer possible—it just took me 9 + months to realize it.
Why am I telling you this story?
- To illustrate that many of us have those pivotal moments/moments of clarity or epiphanies, and
- Although I'd had that moment of clarity, I had ZERO idea what to do next to help myself.
I had ZERO idea what to do because the way I cooked and ate tasted good and seemed really normal to me, that and I had NO intention of trying The Firm’s diet plan (again, a granny smith apple for dessert?!?).
It took me another 8 months of struggling and wondering, then the help of a personal trainer and her food journal to even begin to get half a clue about where to start.
Then it took me about 10 more years and lots of trial and error to get to the reasonable and sustainable way of eating I practice today.
Man, how awesome would it have been to have a few tips, tricks and shortcuts instead of having to go through years of trial and error and self-education to figure things out!!
But the gorgeous thing about that story and my process is that I get to share what I’ve learned with you, and maybe cut your learning curve down a bit, getting you on a path of sustainable, reasonable eating habits sooner rather than later.
Which leads me back to that food journal thing.
Really, it’s the first best place to start when you’re ready to start making changes in how you look, feel and perform.
While exercise will make your fitter—and happier, I’d argue—improved nutrition and healthier eating habits is the only way to truly lose weight, lose body fat and inches, and just plain feel and perform better all around.
We just can’t out-exercise a poor, or unhelpful diet.
Knowing where to start, though, is different than knowing you need to start, and that’s where the food journal comes in!
Once you’ve completed a few days of full, honest food tracking in your journal, you have data with which to start making choices and changes.
Specifically, you have solid information about all of the following, influential diet factors:
- The time(s) of day you tend to eat most often
- Length of time between meals
- Typical foods you eat/foods you eat the most of
- Foods you eat the least of
- Kinds of beverages you drink, and how often
- How your emotional state affects your food choices
- How your environment affects your food choices
These are all REALLY important pieces in our eating habits puzzle, and all relatively easy to identify and understand when they’re in black and white on the paper in front of us.
It’s like we get a little peek into the way our minds and bodies work—super cool.
But what’s best about all this information is that it puts us back into the driver’s seat—it gives us a place from which to start making the most meaningful and helpful changes.
So when you look at your food journal, what patterns leap out at you?
- Are there times of day where you don’t eat at all, or that you tend to eat large amounts of food?
- Do you go for hours and hours between meals, or are you grazing throughout the day?
- What foods are you eating the most?
- Are you drinking lots of sugary or high-calorie drinks?
- How much water are you drinking?
- Do you tend to eat more when your emotions are amplified in some way (angry, sad, stressed)?
- Do you eat at your desk, in front of the TV, while driving, while standing in your kitchen, while wandering around somewhere?
- Do you eat at home more or out at restaurants? What kind(s) of restaurants?
All of these simple, but important factors—our scientific ‘data,’ give us some insight into what our current patterns REALLY are, versus the impression we might have had of how, when, what and how much we’re really consuming on an average day.
That insight, in turn, gives us a starting point for making reasonable, personally meaningful and impactful changes—ONE at a time.
So if you weren’t quite ready to start food journaling, maybe this perspective on how it can be a hugely helpful tool for positive change will give you the nudge you needed to get started.
**Click this link to grab a copy of a handy and user-friendly 3-Day Diet Tracker for yourself**
And if you’re already using a food journal, I hope this gives your evaluation a little more focus and clarity!
If you have any questions at all, or need a little more guidance, shoot me an email at [email protected].
I’d love to chat with you—either through email OR on the phone for a 20-minute coaching session 🙂