Among the innumerable uses of journaling, keeping a food journal is especially enlightening and helpful.

There may be a variety of reasons why a person would decide to keep a daily food journal. Here are just a few:

• You want to lose or gain weight.
• You want to alter your diet in any way (e.g., become vegetarian or vegan).
• You suspect you are having adverse reactions to some things that you eat, but you don't know what.
• You are interested in nutrition and healthy eating.
• You love food and want to write about it.

Food is clearly an integral part of our physical well-being, but it is also closely connected to emotional health. Using a journal to reflect on your experiences with food can prove indispensable in untangling massive psychological webs.

By faithfully recording lists of the items you consume, you can see not only what you eat, but why and how you eat as well.

You don't need to become an obsessive calorie-counter, but simply writing down the foods you eat and how you are feeling when you eat them can help you make healthier choices. You might not even realize that you drink two colas and eat a bag of chips with lunch every day, but it's hard to ignore the facts when they are written down.

Let your food journal include not just the lists but also a few notes about the day and place, your mood, or any other snippets of your reality. Make note of your emotions, especially.

Here's a sample process for food journaling.

1. Find a notebook that you can easily take everywhere with you. Keep a food journal for seven days. Whenever you eat or drink something, jot it down, along with the time and date. Add a few remarks about how you are feeling at the moment. Are you happy, sad, bored, tired? If applicable, also write down what you are doing while eating (working, watching TV, reading) and who you are with.

2. When writing, you are simply recording. This is not the time to judge what you're doing. Put yourself in the place of a passive – but thoroughly honest! - observer. You can evaluate your entries later.

3. After the seven days, reread your journal entries. Do you notice any trends? What foods do you eat too often? What foods are lacking in your diet? What emotions do you most commonly describe? Write down your observations and reflect on any changes you would like to make, big or small.

Author's Bio: 

By Mari L. McCarthy - Journal / Writing Therapist. Are you looking for more information on journaling and its therapeutic effects? Please visit My trademarked program, Journaling for the Health of It! ™, helps my clients live healthier and happier lives. I recently published an interactive ebook, 53 Weekly Writing Retreats: How to Use Your Journal to Get Healthy Now; and a collection of prompts in Mari's Most Musefull Journaling Tips.