Many of us have at least heard of the idea of keeping a food journal. You know, writing down everything you eat and drink with the goal of helping you lose weight. There is nothing inherently magical about writing down what you eat that translates to weight loss, but when you track your intake this way you can identify less healthy eating patterns that you might not have been previously aware of—“Hmm…why am I reaching for a cupcake and coffee every day at 3 p.m.?”—and then make a plan, often with the guidance of your dietitian, to change these behaviors. If you have any food allergies or suspected food intolerances, keeping a food log along with any symptoms (bloating, diarrhea, bladder pain, eczema) can give you clues about which foods may not be agreeing with you. And really, when you write down everything you eat, you just pay more attention to your food choices and are more accountable to yourself, which helps no matter what health goal you have in mind.
If you have diabetes, you may not only be tracking your food intake but also your self-management behaviors, like blood sugar, oral and injectable medications (often at variable doses depending on time of day and blood sugar levels ), exercise, foot checks, behavior change goals, your yearly eye exam and regular doctor and dental visits, and the list goes on. If you take insulin for your diabetes you may be calculating carbohydrate-insulin ratios and correction factors for your insulin dose every time you eat or have high blood sugar (unless you have an insulin pump, which does all these calculations for you). Let’s be honest, there is a lot of health information to keep track of, not to mention just keeping track of everyday life.
Fortunately, there are many excellent mobile applications available to make tracking your food and diabetes self-care that much easier. Check out these apps which are some of the highest-rated and most frequently downloaded tracking tools:
For general nutrition:
- Loseit! (iPhone and Android)
- My Fitness Pal (iPhone and Android)
- mySugr (iPone and Android)
- Glucose buddy (iPhone and Android)
- Glooko (iPhone and Android)
- OnTrack (Android only)
- Diabetes – glucose diary (Android only)
- BG monitor Diabetes (Android only)
If you are working with a dietitian or diabetes educator, be sure to bring your food journal or app with you to appointments.
If you are interested in meeting with a dietitian or diabetes educator at The Polyclinic, ask your health care provider for a referral and call us at 206-860-2208 to schedule an appointment. Check with your insurance carrier for your medical nutrition therapy or diabetes education benefits.