In functional medicine, we believe that your history, lifestyle, and habits hold many of the keys that help us detect what might be getting in the way of your optimal health. With every new client, we use tacking to gain a better insight into what may be impeding their health.
One of my favorite tracking tools is a Food/Mood/Poop Journal or FMP for short. This deceptively simple tracking tool is a goldmine and will provide an insight into what is causing your symptoms, and how you can make positive changes to feel better fast. It may seem like an odd first step but you will soon learn that in order to find out what is getting in the way of your optimal health, we leave no stone unturned.
In fact, the FMP is one of our top diagnostic tools, that has proven time and time again to help you feel better faster, without paying any money for your efforts or left wondering if the next dietary fad or theory is the one that's going to finally do the trick for you.
However, I know tracking of what we eat isn't always fun. Many of us, myself included, have negative associations with logging food for calories or self-discipline; years spent restricting and judging or evaluating each morsel ingested.
Please know that this challenge is about so much more. In particular, it's about taking back one of the best tools for making associations between how we feel and what we do ~ the sweet spot where you actually have more impact over your signs and symptoms than you might realize.
Like you, so many people have niggling complaints that just don't seem to resolve - from fatigue, unwanted weight, sore joints, to nighttime waking - or they have bigger issues and confirmed diagnoses and, as a result, have felt like they have to hand themselves over to a system with some apprehension, skepticism and even fear, especially when the "fix-it" mechanisms don't seem to fix it at all.
Ironically, one thing that all of these people have in common is that they're each unique.
One diagnosis of Crohn's is not the same as another.
Weight loss resistance can develop for different reasons.
Her Hashimoto's manifests with signs and symptoms that are distinct from mine.
Fatigue, muscle ache, headaches are all different for each of us.
And YES, we mostly have the same organs in there. But the form and function (what they look like and how well they work) of those organs are shaped by your genetics and your lifestyle, and I can guarantee you that no two look exactly the same.
Given those differences, can there be a one-size-fits-all protocol?
Is there THE "healthy diet" for all? I'm afraid not.
And that's what brings me to our FMP challenge. We can get so caught up in tests and trials that we forget we have some of the best diagnostic tools right at our fingertips!
The FOOD you eat
Your elimination patterns (yes, I'm talking POOP)
The noticeable signs & symptoms you feel throughout the day (we'll call this MOOD)
They're telling on their own. . . and they have the power to take you from moving through your day like a zombie, subject to your habits and patterned behaviors, to a more heightened state of awareness.
Here is your Food/Mood/Poop Tracker
It's easy and it will provide an opportunity to engage with yourself.
Remember - No quantity, no grams, no measurements needed. Just the pure basics ... what you ate and when you ate it (FOOD) ... how you are feeling, signs, symptoms (MOOD). Remember that your "mood" is more than your emotional state- any thoughts, feelings, pains, or anything else that grabs your attention
... and look and note before you flush (POOP) Use the Bristol chart . Also note if there are any unusual color, smell, undigested food particles in the stool ... Track your water intake and sleep patterns... All simple stuff but all good data.
No judgment. No evaluations. Just observations.
At the end of your tracking week:
Get out some colored markers or pencils in the following colors-red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple. Go through each day and use your colored markers to make a dot at the bottom of each column to note if you ate that color that day. Yes, even purple aka eggplant! No, blue M&M's do not count!
Using a sharpy, circle the meals that include Fat/Fiber/Protein all in one meal
Take this opportunity to really tune in to your body. Just like all of us, your body appreciates being listened to!
What have you noticed?
If you need help connecting the dots please contact me.
Barbara Henderson, FNLP