Welcome to Part 3 of my How to Food Journal Series! If you haven’t yet I definitely recommend you check out Part 1 and 2 before moving forward!
Just as a quick recap last time I mentioned the top things we want to track:
For Part 3 I really wanted to talk about How We Track those items. More specifically I wanted to give you guys a glimpse into my actual food journal. Something to note before we begin…Remember symptoms are anything and everything. I also mentioned in Part 2 that you will probably never show your journal to anyone and to be honest with what you track. Please don’t be shocked or grossed out by what I write down. Now that that’s over lets continue.
Let’s take a look at the images of my journal. I’ve mentioned before that I keep my journal in a book that I carry around with me during the day. I try to keep every day formatted the same. This is so I can easily consume the data on the page without having to figure out where the item is I’m looking for.
Let’s check out the journal pages from top to bottom. I like that the book I bought has the options for date selection on the top. So first things first. I mark the date. Then I start filling out my data format. If I have trialed a new food it gets marked up at the very top of the page. You can see in the image above there is a note for “Mushrooms”. I keep a two column format. On the left side of the page I keep all my food and the right holds my extras including symptoms, stress, sleep, and bowl movements. Lets take a bit of a closer look.
All meals are marked with what they are b = breakfast, l = lunch, d = dinner, s = snacks. Each meal lists all ingredients included in the meal. As I mentioned in Part 2 I try to time stamp every meal/snack. You might notice that I missed a couple meal times, all I have to say is…no body is perfect. Don’t judge.
- P – Y/N for menstrual cycle (not needed for the fellas)
- # – signifies the number of BMs (bowel movements) a day
- Type – Using the Bristol Stool Chart I note the types of BMs I experienced that day
- Because I have IBS, type and # are the symptoms that I want to be able to see quickly and efficiently when I flick through the pages.
- Sleep & Stress (broken into Morning, Afternoon, and Night) Once again you’ll notice I might not have filled that one out as much as I should have. Sorry!
- This is where I time stamp any symptoms I might have. I re-note when I have BM’s, what types they are, and the time they occurred.
Pen and paper with this format has been what’s worked for me. It’s allowed me to track what I need and easily go back to see any adjustments I might need to make or trends in my symptoms. Feel free to manipulate these ideas to better suit you! If you’re more of a Mobile/App/Technology type person there are plenty of options for you as well! However, I don’t recommend that you use a food tracker that focuses on calorie counting. It might not give you the flexibility you need for the symptom tracking as well. I think these articles have some of the best options for these type of food journals.
- Top Mobile Apps to Track Your Digestion
- The Best Crohn’s Disease iPhone and Android Apps of the Year
- Top 5 iPhone and iPad Apps for Patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Even if you do not have the issues listed in the page titles listed above check them out anyway. One of them might be the perfect fit for you!
Ready to start your own food journal? Excellent! There’s one final piece to this Series coming soon which will cover any Tips and Tricks I have to make keeping a journal easier!
Enjoy Part 3? Ready for Part 4? Me too! Comment your thoughts below! Don’t forget to follow my social channels and subscribe to get exclusive subscriber content!