Keeping a record of your daily activities and food intake can help you stay on track if you are trying to lose or maintain weight. Achieving a healthy lifestyle requires a mixture of physical activity and a balanced diet. Mindless eating or lack of exercise can derail your progress and lead to health problems. Develop a simple tracking system to log your workouts and food intake.
While it is easy to mindlessly eat a handful of candy or chips and forget it ever happened, recording the incident in your log makes it easy to remember. The more mindless eating you do, the greater your chances of gaining weight over time. Making the commitment to write down every bite of food you consume for a week at a time will help shed light on how many calories you are actually eating each day.
Skimping on Your Workouts
Though you may be a dedicated gym-goer or exerciser, shortening your planned workouts by 5 or 10 minutes quickly adds up to decreased physical activity. Keep your log with you as you work out. Use it to record exercises, the number of reps and sets and the amount of weight used. Write down the time you start exercising. This will help you exercise for the full amount of time planned. Also record the time when you leave the gym or stop exercising.
Journaling Your Thoughts
Limiting the amount of foods you enjoy can be a challenge if sugary and processed items are your first choice. Journaling in your log about how certain foods make you feel is an important piece of understanding what triggers that hunger. In addition, journaling is beneficial when planning workouts. Suppose you do a workout that was boring or too intense for you to complete. Writing about it will help you remember to re-evaluate that particular workout before doing it again.
The Longer, The Better
Using an activity and food log for a week is a great start, but keeping a record for longer will help you clearly identify weaknesses and strengths in your diet and workouts. Change takes time and commitment. If you are trying to change a particular habit or lead a more healthy lifestyle, aim to keep a journal until you replace or remove unhealthy choices. Tracking your workouts for an extended period also reveals strength gains and possible areas needing improvement.
- Principles of Ambulatory Medicine; Nicholas H. Fiebach, et al.
- Counseling Overweight Adults: The Lifestyle Patterns Approach and Toolkit; Robert F. Kushner, et al.