I Kept a Food Diary to Try to Eat Like Less of a Garbage Human
I had high hopes for this food diary. For one, knowing that I'd be sharing every single thing that goes into my pie hole with the internet seemed like enough to slap a French fry out of my own hand and replace it with a carrot. I'm not a masochist—I've just noticed a marked difference in my body since blowing out my 26th birthday candles and haven't been happy in my own skin, so I wanted to see if recording my every meal would provide insight as to what I need to change in order to feel more confident. In short, seeing it all written down was… alarming.
I considered myself to be a fairly healthy eater (a salad here, some salmon there), but once I got in the thick of recording my meals, I found myself cringing at my own food choices. Even after I'd binged on some Ben & Jerry's and promised myself that I'd do better, I didn't—I was living Kaia Gerber's 15-year-old YOLO diet mantra at 26, and it was quite literally weighing me down. Take a look for yourself below to see what I mean.
Day 1: a fresh start. This was it—my chance to prove to myself, my co-workers, and everyone reading this story how much discipline I have. I cracked an egg into a frying pan with gusto, smugly spread a little bit of fresh jam onto a whole grain piece of toast, and put my feet up on the coffee table feeling good about my healthy homemade breakfast. Snack time was even a win: a handful of almonds. Doesn't get much healthier than that, right?
Lunch began healthy, too: chicken salad with cucumber, carrots, a liiiitttleee bit of creamy Italian dressing, and some lemon juice for good measure. However, when I got home, I had a huge chocolate chip cookie staring at me. We're talking the size of my entire hand—no, maybe even a 6'7" NBA champion's hand. I ate half of it, reminded myself how shitty my decision was by writing out the words "giant chocolate chip cookie" in my food diary, and swore to have a good dinner to make up for it. But then The Bachelor came on. Comfort television can't be met with another salad, I reasoned with myself, and instead matched the trashy plotline with a trashy meal: one serving of penne alla vodka with chicken that could've easily served two, and only a few bites of salad because I was so full from the pasta. Oh, and then I washed it down with a beer. YOLO?
Day two went south as well. It started out with me breaking my four-month-long no-coffee streak out of nowhere. (I guess the pound of pasta was wearing me down, and I needed a little caffeine.) Then, when I got to work, the only snacks available were chips and sugar cookies, so in my mouth they went. It got even worse when an (amazing) brand mailing was delivered to me with a whole bunch of '90s candy in it (Runts! Bubble Tape! Nerds!), so I ate the Runts with abandon.
I tried to cleanse my bad choices with a salad for dinner, but this particular night was my anniversary with my boyfriend, so we split a pint of Ben & Jerry's in bed. It was romantic and cute but also incredibly fattening.
Yeah, that's not a typo. I actually ate gelato for breakfast. Elizabeth Arden came to our office to show off its new Plush Up Gelato lip colors, and I went in on a scoop of raspberry birthday cake gelato. I then didn't each lunch, which I do not condone—time just got away from me this day.
For dinner, I went out with my friend to celebrate his new apartment, hence all the alcohol. I was ravenous, and he even dared to make a comment about the pace at which I was eating, but when you're running on ice cream fumes all day long, you'll eat Italian food like it's your last meal. (That's a totally valid statement, right?)
Ah, day five. Probably my healthiest day of the entire week. I knew I'd done a lot of damage, especially after my gelato breakfast, so I'm calling this day my "saving grace." Go ahead—stay on this slide a bit longer and focus on all the good I did this day. (Yes, I know trail mix isn't a healthy breakfast, but throw me a bone, will you?)
Saturday was crazy. I started a road trip to Montauk with my boyfriend and got a breakfast sandwich to kick off the fun day we were about to have. Little did I know he was going to propose to me this day (!) and surprise me with a big party with all our friends and family. I was so overly stimulated that I barely had an appetite, so my lunch and dinner were a few bites here and there. I then drank more Moscow Mules and beers than I should have, but hey, you only get proposed to once (I hope).
Looking back on this week, it's clear that I don't tap into my conscious when I eat. I snack on sugary things, I eat heavy dinners, and I drink a lot of alcohol. A co-worker told me I was "living my best life" when she saw this diary, and while I definitely lived this particular week, I know that my choices are bad for my health, and I want to do better. These habits also explain why I've hit a weight-loss plateau (especially since I hadn't so much as stepped into a gym all week, a sample of what most weeks look like for me). Overall, I'm really happy that I recorded this because sometimes you aren't aware of your behavior unless you're looking at it from another perspective. Here's to better decisions from here on out, taking care of myself, and eating less like a 15-year-old model.
What do your daily meals look like? Would you ever keep a food diary? Sound off below!
Opening image: Lookbook Cookbook