Writing down feelings after food can lead to healthy eating

Writing down feelings after food can lead to healthy eating

Researchers report that teaching people to notice and document how they feel after eating certain foods can be a highly effective way to encourage healthy eating and positive lifestyle changes.

To measure the effectiveness of behavioral change programs on patient well-being, students from the Ernest Mario College of Pharmacy at Rutgers University partnered with Eating for Your Health, a New Jersey organization that promotes healthy eating, to conduct a 10-day Healthy Eating Challenge.

“Working with the Eating for Your Health team not only affected my personal idea food and lifestyle, but changed my view of pharmacy and showed me the multidimensional role we play in healthcare,” says Marta Galagosa, a PhD student in pharmacy from Rutgers University and a research associate on the project.

Fifty-eight Rutgers University healthcare professionals, staff, and students enrolled in the study, representing a variety of healthcare fields, including medicine, dentistry, nursing, physical therapy, social work, nutrition, and pharmacy.

The researchers showed participants how to prepare healthy breakfast recipes and asked them to observe, document, and think about how they felt after eating.

These notes, called how you feel are the data, are a pillar Eating for your healthThe educational approach, which represents the relationship between how food affects both the body and the brain as an important step towards living a healthier life.

In addition to meal preparation instructions, participants received nutritional resources, encouragement, and a platform to connect with each other.

After the 10-day challenge, 37 participants completed a questionnaire detailing their experiences and whether their eating habits had changed as a result. The survey results included the following:

  • 86% of respondents said they were confident they would change eating habits Move forward.
  • 84% said they would eat a variety of foods, and 46% said they would eat more the basic.
  • 62% said they planned to prepare food in larger batches and the night before to improve their eating habits.

Healthcare providers typically have limited time to engage with patients about lifestyle choices and healthy habits, but Mary Wagner, assistant professor of pharmacology and lead faculty member on the study, sees opportunities for change.

“Pharmacists can create niche spaces in their practices to provide health training to patients, but to help patients reverse harmful habits, they first have to figure out what motivates people to change,” Wagner says. Implementation of specific tools, such as the How You Feel Data method, can allow health care providers to empower their patients to enhance eating habits and other positive lifestyle changes.

“While changing behavior can be challenging, this study shows that observation, journaling, and self-discovery can support the process and improve patients’ long-term health,” says Marion Rainson, executive director of Eating for Your Health.

“Experiencing foods and recipes and listening to and understanding your body’s reaction is an effective, self-directed first step toward discovering a sustainable, consistent way of eating that works for you.”

Wagner and her students continue to work with the Eating for Your Health program to develop evidence-based approaches, such as diabetes and bone health, for Rutgers University and other community organizations.

Researchers will provide the findings At the annual meeting of the New Jersey Pharmacists Association.

source: Rutgers University

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