- Start the journal first thing upon waking.
- Note how you feel during the day, your sleep quality, the weather, and pain. Use the icons and scales included in the journal.
- Note exactly what medications you take, what you eat or drink and the times. (Be specific. Include incidental over-the-counter medication and the small food items such as the butter on toast or the toppings on your specialty coffee.)
- Note any and all symptoms, the severity and the time they occur.
- Note any factors or activities that you believe may be affecting your health in any way
- If appropriate, take your heart rate (and blood pressure if you have access to a monitor) at the time symptoms appear.
- Use the journal for a minimum of a week.
- At the end of the week use the weekly summary to include all foods, activities or other factors you think may have a connection to your symptoms.
- In the "Week Ahead" section write down what foods you will include in your diet for the week, what physical activities you will engage in and your medications.
- If appropriate, leave out of your diet the foods that you believe may have caused symptoms.
- Continue to note exactly your activities, what you eat, any symptoms and when they occur.
- At the end of the week use your weekly summary to add any additional foods, factors or activities you believe may be connected to your symptoms.
Week Three and Four
- Continue to carefully note your daily activities as above.
- At the end of week four review your daily entries carefully.
- In the journal summary areas write down any connections that appear between what you eat, what you do and how you feel.
- Once you have carefully reviewed your entries, noted any connections, add your observations to the "For my Healthcare Practitioner" section.
- Remember to take the journal with you to your next visit with your health care provider.