Not a Yule Log, a Food Log!

The Holiday season is upon us and with it, it has brought cakes, cookies, pies, muffins, fudge, candy, peppermint-mocha lattes and gingerbread being produced at the massive rate.  Kitchens and bakeries making sweets as if the aliens are coming, and they’re going to confiscate all of our sugar if we don’t use it up before December 25th!  The worst part about all of these sweet treats, is that many of them are only available once a year!  There are special holiday editions out in the stores and Grandma only makes her fudge for Christmas, making it darn-near impossible to pass these treats up, knowing it will be another 12 months before they’re available!  I am guilty of this mindset–what if the aliens really do come?

Although we have the best of intentions this year to make it through the Holidays without being too gluttonous, we can’t ignore our own human weakness. We must equip ourselves with every tool possible to make it through 2010 without eating our share of the 150 pounds of sugar the average American eats in one year.   One of the greatest tools I have found in my quest to live optimally is a food log, a simple journal where I keep track of my food intake.  A food log will not only hold you accountable, but it will provide you with the data you need to make the best decisions for your health.  “But, Lauren,” you say, “why would I need data…I’m a little old for the science fair?”  My answer is no, you’re never too old, the data I am referring to, is your own knowledge of how much you eat, what you eat, and when you eat.

Do you ever notice that some nights you are more exhausted than others?  Or that you get extremely sleepy everyday at the same time at work?  Maybe you’ve noticed that your kids are STARVING when they come home from school, although they’ve eaten just a few hours ago?  Anyone of these dilemmas could be solved with a food log.  Simply jot down the things you eat, a rough estimate of the amount, and the time you ate.  I have also found that jotting down how I feel when I’m feeling extraordinarily good one day and terrible another is very useful information. Keep track of this for a few days and look back over your data; you may find out that you’ve eaten very little protein on the days you were especially exhausted, or you’ve eaten an entire pound cake throughout the course of three days!

There have been multiple times when I have reached for something tempting and thought, “I don’t want to write that down in my food log.”  This simple level of accountability could be just what you need to make it through the Holidays and continue on your journey to optimal health! Today’s challenge: Go find yourself a notebook, or start making memos in your cell phone and keep a food log for 3 days!  Start the Yuletide Season off with a healthy choice.

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