starting a food diary

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lately i’ve been experiencing all kinds of stomach problems. i’m not sure why but it has grown much worse in the past few months than it ever has been before. it always starts the same, i feel slightly unsteady in the morning, and as i start getting ready for my day, the lights begin to really bother me, and then i realize i’m having a hard time focusing and standing. the room starts spinning, and before i know it i’m nauseous and the only thing i can think is maybe i need some food in my system. as i eat, i break out into an uncontrollable sweat, and i have no choice but to lay down and hope i can sleep it off.

as you might imagine, experiencing this almost bi-weekly has been beyond frustrating, i’ve had to cancel many plans because of this, and i ended up using a lot of sick days at work, as well. finally, after three months of this, i decided to start a food diary to fully track what has been making my stomach become so sensitive.

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one of my closest friends also has a lot of stomach issues – she’s taken food sensitivity tests, tried an elimination diet, and tracks her intake very carefully. initially i reached out to her about the sensitivity test, but she warned me that it was expensive and that she ended up trying an elimination diet anyways, so it might be better for me to just do that and save some money. i needed to brainstorm the common factors of my recent issues, and this is the list i came up with.

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a lot of people asked me why i didn’t just do my food diary on my phone as it would be much more convenient since it’s always with me. i ended up deciding on a journal because it would excite me to write in it each day, and i wanted to finally use the lovely notebook leta gifted me with last year.

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i’ve been tracking all kinds of things in my diary; food, symptoms, exercise, and how much i went to the bathroom (smiley faces were good poops, which sad faces were bad poops.) this was helpful because it also forced me to face what i was eating. i know i have a tendency to snack throughout the day so having to write each thing down discouraged snacking and having a lot of unhealthy candies.

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they say it takes twenty-one days to make or break a habit, so now that i’ve reached over 21 days of this diary, i can proudly say i’ve started a good habit. also, as much as it pains me to admit, i did see a pattern that something at the poke place was upsetting my stomach. i’m not sure if it was all the raw fish i was eating very often or if it was the toppings, but i decided to take a break from poke for a while. which is one of the hardest things for me since i’ve been going almost twice a week since i started a few months ago.

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i decided on a new list of things to avoid. beef didn’t seem to cause problems for me, but instead just made me slightly gassy the next day, so i was excited that i didn’t have to cut that out of my diet. here’s my revised list of what i’m stepping away from for now, after tracking for three weeks. so far i’ve been good not having eggs, so i’m going to wait a while before adding them back into my diet. as for seaweed salad and masago, we’ll see how i fair without them.

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i will say that enjoying foods in moderation is probably key for keeping your stomach from getting overwhelmed, so hopefully, after some rest, i can have poke again – just not so often. although this may sound silly, i didn’t realize just how much poke i was eating, nor did i notice any type of pattern before i started my diary. sometimes sensitivities come from having too much of something, so perhaps that was my issue.

either way, i’m so happy that i realized these things, and i will keep tracking to see how things go. since i started my diary, i’ve had six days of nausea and tummy troubles, that’s almost one in every four days. hopefully the next time i update you all, it will be even less.

have you ever kept a food diary? do you have any tips or tricks for a beginner like me?

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