08 July, 2011
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How to Keep a Health Diary
Keeping a health diary is a way to monitor how you feel on a daily basis, depending on what foods you eat, what activities you partake in and other factors. A health diary can be as simple or extensive as you make it, depending on the purpose it serves for you. Mary J. Shomon writes in her book "Living Well with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia," that if you are suffering from a chronic illness, keeping track of medical records, test results and doctor appointments can all be a part of your health diary.
Keep the diary in the kitchen for easy access so you can record what foods you eat after each meal.
Write the date at the top of each notebook page in the morning. At the beginning of each day, record how much sleep you got, the quality of your sleep and how you feel in the morning.
Record the amount of medicine, herbs or other supplements you take in the morning. Record any physical activity or other routine that you keep throughout the day. Write about any physical symptoms you experience in the day, such as noting the amount and quality of bowel movements.
Record what you eat daily in your diary. List how much you eat of each food. According to FamilyDoctor.org, you can estimate this in volume or weight. Next, write down every detail of food you consume during the meal. Record the time of day you eat the meal and where you are when you eat it. This could be your home, in your car or a restaurant.
Write down if you eat by yourself or with other people. List the people who are there. Also list any activities you are doing while you are eating, for example, such as watching television or talking on the phone. Record your mood while you are eating, whether happy, depressed or tired.
Keep all your medical records in your diary or binder. Make notes on how each visit is to your doctor or other health practitioner and any recommendations or changes that the doctor suggests.
Do this every day for a week. Go back and look to see what clues you come up with about certain foods, medicine and supplements and how each affects your mood or physical health. Keep the diary for as long as you need to and at the end of each week, make notes about what seems to work and what does not.
It is important to tell the truth when keeping a diary. Write everything down and include as much information related to your health as possible. Share your diary with medical professionals, such as your family doctor, to receive input and advice.
Consult your family doctor if you have any questions or concerns about keeping the health diary.
- "Living Well with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia"; Mary J. Shomon; 2004
- Family Doctor: Nutrition: Keeping a Food Diary
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