Food journals - healthy habit or not

Today I started to keep a food journal again as my bgs have been crazy high and I can’t seem to get it down. I use the MySugr app and love the way it tracks my data. The problem is that I hate keeping a food journal! I feel like I have an eating disorder. I have always struggled with my weigt and I dealth with a lot in my younger years trying to fit societies ideal of beauty. I finally came to terms with my body as it was when I was first diagnosed as diabetic. Now I feel like I’m right back to where I was. I should note that I have never had an eating disorder. But I feel like the constant measuring and weighing and logging of every bit of food that I consume is a little comparable to having an eating disorder. The more I focus on my caloric intake the more depressed I become. I have been gaining weight which is probably contributing to my whacky bgs these past few days. I was just wondering does anyone else feel like I do? Is there anything I can do differently? I know I just have to not think so negatively about it as I ma doing it for the purpose of being as healthy as I can but it is easier said than done

Alyssa, I've never been able to keep a food journal. I've been good at tracking my BGs and my weight but not tracking everything I eat--and I was using a web app. It's just better for me to avoid certain foods that are temptations--eating low carb, small portions, and try to stay active as much as possible. When I do that, my diabetes. RA and I feel a whole lot better. :-)

I say, "Good for you!" Keeping a journal that tracks food, diabetes meds, and exercise has always been a winner for me. I don't do it all the time but when BGs become difficult to control, looking at retrospective data, a journal, always makes things better for me. What you're trying to do is to see and understand how your current habits affect your blood sugar. Keeping a journal gives you some perspective one never gets when just "winging it." It's the old forest and trees cliche.

Looking at past data over a few days time period will help you to detect trends that are not so obvious in the present moment. What you're doing is a scientific dispassionate observation about how you and your body work. Your effort will be rewarded with valuable actionable knowledge about you.

Many people here will often use the term, "eat to your meter." It simply means that you track before and after meal BG numbers as well as the amount and nutritional content of your food. I highly recommend that you use a food scale to quantify what you're eating. This will help identify which meals need to be changed and some foods that perhaps may need to be dropped. Some meals may just need to have their portion size changed. Or you may need a change in your meds. No one can absolutely tell you in advance how your body will react to various meals but doing your own personal test will suggest actions you may take to move toward your goal.

As far as how you feel about keeping a journal, think about it as your choosing to take on this activity rather than your having to do it. In the former frame, you have power. In the latter frame, you are the powerless victim! If you stick with this new journaling effort and end up experiencing better BGs, then that will complete the circle and make you feel effective and powerful.

Good luck with this new effort. I think you are absolutlely doing the right thing!

I absolutely agree with Terry (as usual!) about the "Choosing to take on this activity rather than your having to do it." For me that is the key in so many things.

That being said, I am someone who does have an eating disorder from which I have 20 years recovery. I wasn't diagnosed with Type 1 until I had 13 years recovery and having to count, measure, note,monitor what I ate went against everything I'd learned in my recovery about not obsessing about weight or food. However....I also find that writing down what I eat and the carbs helps me make decisions about insulin doses and tweak I:C ratios, gives me a reminder of what just doesn't work and provides convenient resources for when I eat the same thing again so I don't have to calculate carbs all over. That being said, I barely know what an app is,and if a "food journal" is something you have to continually look back on, but if the format you are using feels burdensome, try another, up to and including old school pen and paper. It takes me 2 seconds to write down what I eat and carb count and then I forget about it.

Hopefully, as Terry said, you can reframe this as a positive thing you do for your D management. But bottom line is that it'S YOUR D management and YOUR emotional well-being. If it is causing you more discomfort to track your food journal, then good from improved BG than don't do it! As long as you do count your carbs to determine insulin dose.

As for weight, I only weigh myself about once a week. Weight normally fluctuates a pound or two and with digital scales it's easy to obsess over slight gains. I did find myself steadily gaining last year I identified a food I was eating too much of (it was a high fat food, so I disagree with the majority on that one to a degree) and I eliminated that food and got back where I like to be. Bad habits are easily formed but can also be unformed. I'm the one in control of that.

I find that when I track my food and activity- I use My Fitness Pal- and weigh my portions in grams on a Digital food scale then I lose weight. When I don’t I gain weight. That’s it. I’m either gaining or losing, but losing means my bs numbers are better, my energy level is higher,I feel better, sleep better and am less depressed. I put the blinders on for Thanksgiving thru the weekend, but today I am tracking once again. The biggest challenge is to be honest with myself and log when my portion is too big or when I eat something that has no healthy characteristics.but I’ve learned that I can fool my mind, but not my body. I don’t always log even though I know that my endo says that is the single most important factor for her patients that have success with their control. My initial a1c was over 10.5. My last a1c was 5.2 and I am starting to reduce my meds. Alcoholics have to go to meetings, I have to log.

Reenie - Dropping your A1c from 10.5% to 5.2% amazes me! As much of a pain that daily logging can be, your tremendous results prove once again how effective it can be. Congrats on your success. Keep up the good work!

Eucritta, that's my mantra...I do better by estimation than by actual tracking. When I do the actual tracking and journalizing, I become obsessive and end up throwing things off. Estimating and "eating to my meter" works better for me as well as counting carbs. Actually counting carbs originally helped me to lower my A1C; but now it's creeping upward due to the 'ole pancreas sputtering.

Waiting on the referral for the second opinion, original endo still refusing to provide any medication.

Thanks for all the support!! When I was first dx’d by my PCP I journaled regularly while I got the hang of the lifestyle changes (I was a high carber it was all about the pasta rice and bread lol). I didn’t have health insurance so I didn’t connect with an endo until this summer. The food journal really helped me to manage my d while I was honeymooning through diet alone. Now I’m insulin dependent and I’m on a pump and a cgm and I have started to slack off. Unfortunately I have out on significant weight (I don’t weigh myself that often but either I’ve gained or all my pants are shrinking lol). I’m going back to what has worked for me in the past and that is what I keep telling myself (before becoming completely insulin dependent my a1c was 6.3). It’s just frustrating having to go through all of this. I had a hard time as a teen with the diets that my parents had me on. Now I feel like I’m obsessing again but I do know it’s for my health and I have to suck it up and get a handle on my bgs ASAP.

Alyssa, I do have the problem of weight fluctuations, but I've found I can chart them to one of two issues--my cycle or RA flares. My cardiologist gave me good advice of weighing myself each morning to check if I am retaining fluid--a problem that I have had prior to diabetes.

I have all respect for anyone who can do a food journal...I just don't have the discipline or should I say I become too obsessive compulsive.

What does your endo mean by an a1c that is too good?

i dont keep a food journal anymore. im three years in and eat low-ish carb and do eat lots of the same things so i know what SHOULD happen to my bg, but yes, i definitely know what you mean! when i do log, i get kind of obsessed about how much im eating, that im eating too much, that every day i should aim to eat a bit less. the eat-a-bit-less-than-yesterday was not very healthy but that thought continually crept into my head. i wouldnt even be eating but would be looking at my food log many times throughout the day.

i only do it now when i have troublesome bgs. im sorry i cant tell you what to do differently, but i do know how you feel! good luck getting the bg in order!

Well, since it is not uncommon for diabetics to develop issues around food, including irrational fear, we do have some things in common with those who struggle with such disorders. Journaling can help us get back on track when we get off track, and it keeps us mindful of everything we consume. Keep in mind you don't need to keep food logs forever, just until you you have enough data to make some analyses and positive changes, but you can keep it up if you find it helps you.

Alyssa, I feel like I've kept a food journal my whole life. First it was for WW and then for diabetes. And really there is nothing wrong with keeping track of what goes in my mouth (or yours) as long as we don't get possessed by it. Too many, myself included can't remember what we ate for dinner last night, and when our sugars go high, we can look back and say "oh, it's because I had whatever". But if it gets to be a thing where it's more for the journaling than the actual knowledge going towards weight loss and diabetes control....I'd put the book away and keep those foods in mind each day, but not compulsively....

I've used My Fitness Pal and Lose It. I prefer the latter as the "units" e.g. cups, ounces, etc. seem to fit what I eat better. I've mostly used them in conjunction with working out although when I stick to them pretty hard, I will get really killer BG results for a couple of days. And then blow it up celebrating when the weekend hits, LOL. I think I have a hard time eating enough calories because I am mostly focused on my BG and, if my BG is ok, I don't see too much reason to eat, just to pack some food in.

A +1 for Zoe's paper & pen method. I write down food, carbs, calories, and insulin. It takes a few seconds and, like Zoe said, then I forget about it. For me, it's so much easier than constantly trying to remember what I ate, whether I gave myself a shot, etc. It also keeps me honest with myself about what I'm eating.

My problem with paper and pen is that I'm a HUGE doodler. I always bring paper to stuff @ work and end up with psychedelic/ geometric scribbling all over the place, maybe a couple of "big words" that came up in the meeting and then throw it out. I hardly ever log anything but the bonus is that when I write down diabetes stuff, it's also covered in blood!!

I have to say that that light show is sick!! I wish I could do something tha awesome. As it is my tree blinks in the strangest places lol.

My only problem with paper and pen logs is that I lose paper. I hate even having receipts in my bag. Actually just this week I had to call my endo and request new copies of my lab paperwork so I can go get it done before my next appointment lol. I almost always have my phone and originally I made a note that kept all my pertinents. I have tried MySugr and mynetdiary d and prefer MySugr to log. I do still use the mynetdiary app to look up nutritional info (it’s the only feature that it surpasses MySugr).

I’ve logged before and it worked I guess I was just cutting back too much. It’s so hard to find the proper balance between being OCD/type a personality and being happy lol