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6 Secrets Hidden In Your Food Journal

How Food Journals Can Help

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You know that keeping a food diary can help with weight loss. In fact, you could potentially lose twice as much weight. (Here's How to Make Food Journaling Work for You.) The patterns that an eating diary can reveal may tell you so much more about your health, habits, and even your workouts. The trick is keeping a thorough log. "Food is just one tiny piece of the puzzle," says dietician Torey Armul, R.D.N., a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "The key to keeping a good record is to add other information." That means your appetite levels, emotions, how you're feeling physically, energy levels, and more.

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What's Causing Your Digestion Issues

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If you keep a log of your symptoms (bloating, cramping) along with your food journal, it'll be easier to see associations between what you eat and how you feel, as well as any possible food allergies, says Priya Lawrence, M.S., R.D.N., co-founder of Tried and True Nutrition. "If someone comes to me with IBS concerns or constipation, I immediately look for food allergies," she says. Keeping notes can help you make more precise connections because you'll know not just what symptoms you had, but when. And if you do any sort of elimination diet, it's crucial to keep a good food and symptom diary.

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How to Boost Your Workouts

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Armul has her clients log very specific notes about their workouts, including the intensity, the duration, what they ate before and after, and how they felt before, during, and after their sweat sessions. "If you find that you're consistently feeling pooped halfway through your workouts, you can tweak your afternoon snacks to help boost your energy," she says. It's especially important to log nutrition while you're training for an event, she adds, so you'll know the best fuel for your body on race day.

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Why You've Been Feeling Lightheaded

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People don't always think to log water in a food journal, but the information is really crucial, says Lawrence. (Are you drinking enough water? Do you have any of the Five Signs of Dehydration? And no, the color of your pee isn't the only factor.) If you see that you're not drinking enough throughout the day, it could help explain symptoms like constipation and dizziness, which are both associated with dehydration.

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Your Personal Food-Mood Connection

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Some people turn to food when they're frustrated, says Lawrence, while others feel they "deserve" an indulgence after accomplishing something tough. Writing down your emotions when you log your food keeps emotional eating in the front of your mind, which can help curb binging or mindless munching. Writing can also help replace that emotion-driven indulgence. "If you feel like eating but you've just had a meal, write down your feelings instead," says Lawrence. Did you know that certain foods can actually boost your mood, too?

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Whether You're Eating the Right Breakfast

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Logging your appetite throughout the day can help you identify what foods fill you up, and which ones leave you hungry again in an hour or two (it's different for everyone), says Armul. "I ask clients to rank their hunger levels," she says. "If they're starving every day by lunchtime, then maybe their breakfast isn't effective." (Perhaps try making one of these 10 Protein-Packed Yogurt Bowls That Will Jump Start Your Morning.)

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Why You Overeat During Netflix Marathons

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"I also like the idea of keeping some notes on mindfulness," says Armul, since how mindful you are can affect your food intake. Along with a mindfulness rating, jot down whether you're eating in front of the TV, seated at a table, or standing up in your kitchen, which can help you understand why you ate more than usual or felt less satisfied than you expected.

Photo: Cultura RM Exclusive/Liam Norris

Why Won't My Partner Have Sex with Me?

Your partner saying "no" to sex can be a seriously troubling thing. It can send you into a downward spiral of self-doubting thoughts: What's wrong with me? What's wrong with our relationship? What if I'm not desirable enough? 

Lauren Moshi High Neck Tank

This super-soft tank adds an element of rock 'n' roll to your athleisure look. ($79; laurenmoshi.com

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Why Treating Yourself Is the #1 Secret to a Healthy Diet

We like kale, quinoa, and salmon just as much as the next healthy eater. But a diet of vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins on endless repeat is not the best strategy for a slim, healthy body. Indulging smartly is what really works to help you lose weight and keep it off, experts say. The reason: Enjoying regular treats helps you stay motivated and prevents you from bingeing, explains Lauren Slayton, R.D.N., the owner of Foodtrainers in New York City. It also makes you happy.

Gym Bags That Will Take You From Your Workout to the Beach

The Banana Duffle

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Stuff it full of your gym clothes and beach snacks (hint: These crunchy and creamy options are all under 200 calories)—this hold-all will serve as an all-day shore companion. ($70; adidas.com)

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The Polka Dot Tote

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Slip your yoga mat into the outer pocket of this shoulder bag and head straight for the sea. A snap-in clear zip pouch keeps your gym outfit from stinking up the rest of your stuff, and the abundance of interior mesh pockets can hold your frozen sports drink and sun hat for the hot day ahead.  ($114; macys.com) (Check out: The Best Hats to Protect Your Skin This Summer.)

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The Volleyball Bag

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A sporty splash of color packs a wet compartment for a bikini or sports bra, a water-resistant base that you can easily wipe clean and pockets out the wazoo for keeping all of your belongings organized. ($45; reebok.com)

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The Waterproof Tote

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Stash your suit at the gym and your socks at the shore with this waterproof tote. It even has a removable drawstring bag to keep your wet or sweaty things out of the way. The closure is magnetic, so not rusty zippers to worry about! ($165; anthropologie.com)

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The Kors, Of Course

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Comfortable and chic is necessary for both the gym and the great outdoors, and this bag does both with plenty of storage to boot. It's made from ultra lightweight nylon with a zip pocket and front snap pocket for easy access to your headphones (see the best ones for any situation) and your shades. ($128; macys.com)

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The Packable Pouch

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This bag is as durable as it is sensible, and fully lined with an extra zipper compartment to keep things sand-free and protected from sweat as well. The straps are breathable, so you're set for long walks by the waves to find the perfect spot. ($30; underarmour.com)

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The Nautical Shoulder Bag

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The ventilated zipper compartment at the bottom of this bag will help your shoes and socks dry. It also contains a mini wristlet that can convert into a small top handle bag, so you can take a quick trip to the beach cabana for cocktails and not lug the full bag on your shoulder. ($295; torysport.com)

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The Jersey Tote

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Minimalist and comfortable, a great sack bag can pack inside of your own beach duffel or serve as the main bag itself. This one has a reversible option, in case you want to keep the jersey dry while carrying your sweaty clothes or sweating water bottle. ($41; athleta.com(Stock up on Cute Water Bottles for All Your Workouts.) 

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The Quilted Calvin Bag

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Flip this quilted number inside out to put the pockets on the inside. It's functional with a malleable structure for stuffing in a towel or dry clothes, and it can take you through the city to brunch when a beach day falls through. ($57; macys.com)

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The Sea Sack

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This summer-ready mesh and cotton combo means maximum breathability for wet towels and plenty of room for your sneakers or sandals. Wear it as either a backpack or shoulder bag. ($60; adidas.com) (And if mesh is your obession, these workout clothes will fuel the fire.)

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The Outdoorswoman's Tote

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Take this bag on the beach, boat, or wherever your afternoon is headed. It's coated so it won't get soaked, and has a yoga mat clip and stash pocket for any gear you need to take along with you. ($80; Columbia.com

 

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The Storm Born Bag

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Under Armour's storm series is water-resistant and durable, so you can tote through sudden summer showers and keep your things in the laundry bag inside. The canvas color will hold up to any dirt. Wear it as a shoulder bag or side sling. ($80; underarmour.com)

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The Summer Satchel

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Great storage means everything can be neatly stowed post-gym, so you don't have to drop your spin shoes at home when you're at the coast. The pouch will keep your cash and accessories safe and dry from whatever you need to keep zipped up inside. ($295; torysport.com(Check out more fashionable gym bag options.

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Photo: Tory Burch