At Foothills Weight Loss Specialists, creating a supportive environment and offering tools to ensure our patients’ health and success is important to us. As you adjust to your life after bariatric surgery, tracking your nutrition will help you better understand your eating habits, what your body needs for a healthy recovery, and maintain long-term results.
Our team’s registered dietitian, Jennifer Clark, MS, RDN, LDN, plays a crucial role in educating and counseling patients on various nutrition and health-related topics, helping them to improve their nutritional status and weight management while encouraging them through their personal weight loss journey. One tool she recommends and guides patients through is food journaling.
“Food journaling can be a very educational and helpful exercise for patients, because it allows us to analyze their nutrition and consumption habits and work with them toward a nutrition plan that meets their needs, while identifying areas for improvement,” says Clark. “By recording what you eat, you tend to be more conscious of the effect food has, and more willing to make changes. This is especially important for keeping patients on track post surgery.”
Food journaling can help patients understand the basics of adequate daily nutrition in many ways:
- Learning the amount of nutrients consumed during each meal and identifying lack of protein and surplus of carbohydrates, sugars and fats.
- Breaking down the calories to better understand where they are coming from and their nutrition value.
- Recognizing binging or emotional eating tendencies (time of day, environment, and how other factors play a role).
- Practicing portion control and well-balanced meals.
- Providing a record (of food consumed at each point throughout the day) and educational tool for you to discuss with your dietitian.
After surgery, our team will educate you on the modifications to your gastrointestinal tract, and why they require permanent changes to your eating habits to sustain weight loss. It is crucial to adhere to post-surgery dietary guidelines, and recording your intake will make developing healthier habits more manageable.
To get your food journaling process started, decide whether you’d prefer to keep a written journal or take advantage of electronically tracking through an app. An important rule of thumb is to record what you eat throughout the day, keeping specific measurements and recording nutritional values, quickly after you’ve finished eating rather than waiting until the end of the day. We typically recommend apps such as My Fitness Pal or Lose It!. These apps simplify the food journaling process by calculating calorie intake for you and are customizable to fit your health goals.