How to Use a Food and Mood Diary

How to use a food and mood diary to track your SIBO symptoms

Understanding what symptoms your body is giving you and why it is giving them to you can be really liberating. If you have been unwell for years, it's common to feel completely overwhelmed and controlled by your symptoms.

But it doesn't have to be this way.  I developed my Food and Mood Diary to give you a tool to track everything that goes into your body and what symptoms your body gives you in return.

Below, I take you through how to use it and why it can be such a useful part of your recovery to health. It can also be used by your Doctor or Practitioner as a way to monitor your progress.

Food & Mood Diary Promo Fb

Get Help Tracking Your Meals

Use the Food & Mood Diary to track your daily intake of foods and beverages to help get an insight into the symptoms you are experiencing.

Track Everything You Eat

The first step with the Food and Mood Diary is to track everything you eat. Food sensitivities or intolerances can be a common culprit in digestive issues, so by keeping a record of what you eat, you can often identify what symptoms you develop after certain foods.

Start off by writing down every ingredient.  As you get more advanced with your tracking, you may like to track the quantities as well, as sometimes we can tolerate a certain food up to a certain quantity.  As you get to know your body better, you will learn which foods need to be eaten within a certain volume or frequency limits.

Also, keep a note of any supplements you are taking. Some of my coaching clients have experienced digestive symptoms because of their supplements, so it's useful to see what you're taking, and when, and how quickly (if at all) symptoms develop afterwards. Sometimes it can be the dosage (you may need to lower it) or a sensitivity to an ingredient in the supplement.

Track Everything You Drink

What you drink is just important to track as what you eat.  The first thing I look for with my SIBO Coaching Clients is are they drinking enough fluid during the day? Dehydration is common, and if you are constipated, not drinking enough water can be exacerbating the situation. Likewise, if you regularly have diarrhoea, it's important to replace the lost fluids. Track your water, tea, coffee, smoothies, or any other beverages you consume.  If you are drinking alcohol, track what you drink and any mixers.

"Tracking my daily nutritional intake gave me insight into the symptoms my body was giving me. I immediately felt more connected to it, and thus more informed about what was happening, and why.

Rebecca Coomes

Track Your Bowel Movements

What goes in, must come out, but how quickly it comes out and in what form gives us a great insight into how your digestive tract is performing. Check out Naturopath Lynda Griparic's guest blog where she shares her knowledge on how to know if you're having a healthy poop.

Track what time you have a bowel movement, what it's like: colour, consistency, aroma, how it felt coming out.

You can also do an easy test to see how long it takes for your food to pass through your bowel. Take 1 tbs sesame seeds and swallow them whole with water. Take a note of the date and time. When you start seeing polka dot poop, this is the start of the sesame seeds coming out. Mark that down as your initial transit time. Keep watching until the polka dot poop finishes, as this will be your total transit time.

Track How You Move Your Body

How we're moving our bodies can have a huge influence on how we feel. I commonly see my SIBO patients falling into one of two categories: exercising too much or too vigorously for their current condition, or not moving their bodies enough.

If you have chronic constipation, movement is essential. Not only does it support your body for overall health and wellness, but it can positively support your digestive tract to help it move the food matter through.

Note down what exercise you have done, the intensity and duration, and then how you feel afterwards.  Do you feel energised or depleted?

Track How You Feel

Finally, track how you feel. This can be physical symptoms, emotional symptoms, brain symptoms or anything else you want to make note of.  I once had a SIBO Coaching Client who had a cup of coffee every morning, and would then have a terrible headache for a few hours. After tracking for a week, she realised there was a correlation, so stopped the coffee to see if her headaches would stop.  Low and behold, they did, and she realised she had a caffeine sensitivity that she had never noticed before.

I ask my clients to think about whether they feel excited, happy, sad, grumpy, moody, lethargic, sore, energised, etc. Food sensitivities don't always show up in digestive symptoms, so tracking your mood and general wellbeing can be really useful.

 I know that I can get extremely moody and downhearted if I eat gluten. I no longer get the debilitating stomach cramps from it, but it does still affect me.

How Long Should You Track For?

To get the best results, it is ideal to track for a minimum of 1 week, however, to see trends and patterns in your symptoms and nutrition habits, tracking for 1 month or longer can give you greater results.

SIBO is often a long-term treatment program, and I have found tracking to be a great way to watch my progress over time.  It's easy to forget the small wins we achieve each month, but when you track them, you can look back and see how far you have come.

  • Herbal Leaves H1qygbnam

    Track for at least 1 week but ideally 1 month

  • Herbal Leaves H1qygbnam

    Track everything that goes into your body

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    Monitor how you feel: body, mind and energy

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    Treat this as an interesting science experiment of one

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    Stop if this adds to your overwhelm. Do at a time you feel comfortable with it

Next Steps?

If you would like help tracking your food, or interpreting the results, you might like to book in for a 1:1 Coaching Call with me. These calls are the perfect way for you to ask questions that are specific to your current situation. Read more about my coaching sessions here.

Food & Mood Diary Promo Fb

Get Help Tracking Your Meals

Use the Food & Mood Diary to track your daily intake of foods and beverages to help get an insight into the symptoms you are experiencing.

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