Last night, I attended a talk that was a facilitated discussion of “how to know what to eat”. I went with interest to hear what this particular facilitator would say. I was pleased that much of what she said lined up with how I practice: there is great information that helps you understand what your body is telling you, but you need to be able to listen to what your body is telling you.
And when you study the many existing dietary theories, a common thread of ground rules becomes apparent (see my newsletter “Which Diet Will Work?” for these).
Where I disagreed with the facilitator was on the use of tracking logs.
You see, the facilitator believed that to listen to what your body was saying, you needed to take a month off and reconnect with yourself so that you can focus on what’s going on in your body and notice the subtle differences–the small reactions–and have the presence to really take notice of those changes. I don’t even recall what she felt the use of tracking logs were for but in her mind, they were not the beginning of the journey–I remember that..
It’s not that I don’t understand what she’s saying. And in fact, I think most of us could stand to be “there”. I just think it’s unrealistic for many people to be able to do that. Even so, I don’t think it’s always the most effective way to do that when you’re starting out.
You see, I’m an impatient person. I’m also someone that prefers to live as unrestricted as possible. For me, using tracking logs is a great way to pinpoint the true source of an issue so that you are not removing things from the diet or changing things in your life that are not truly producing change. Tracking logs definitely seem tedious at first. But when you consider that it can cut down 3, 5, 7–maybe more–years of trial and error (and trying to remember minute details to shorten that trial and error time) down to 6-12 months in some cases… well, it’s worth it.
Many of my clients use logs and submit them to me for review. Often, it helps them to see that the path they’re following is worth continuing. There’s no question about whether the headache or behavior started before they had a piece of cheese or after. Tiny details. In one case, I was able to show a mother that her child’s behavior was not tied to a reaction to fish oil. These are important (that mom later re-tried fish oil on her child with great success).
My opinion only differs in that getting a handle on things can be EASIER using tracking logs when you have a busy life and/or you don’t know where to start. Once you use them to fine tune a bit, you feel more confident, less frazzled, likely physically and mentally better–and then you can take greater control of things to calm down and really listen. After having seen the patterns emerge in your logs (maybe with a guiding hand), you have a sense of what to listen to. Then, that sense of intuition grows and spreads so that you no longer really need the logs unless you hit a more serious and/or complicated health issue.
If you are trying to make sense of a complex picture of problems and you don’t know where to start, let’s talk. I have a tracking log that I use with my clients available for purchase and we could certainly talk about working together. Ultimately, my clients end with good “training” on how to tune into their (or their children’s) bodies and finding connections. I’ve seen first-hand the value of the effort of tracking when it comes down to trying to figure out your bioindividuality so that you can make lasting, positive changes to your health and wellbeing (or that of your child’s!).