For most of us, long-term weight loss success is mainly about making small, progressive changes to your daily eating and activity habits. To help keep track of and review those changes, a weight loss diary or journal can be a monumental help.
This article will discuss why it’s a good move to start a weight loss journal and what you should record it in. Let’s get started.
Why keep a weight loss journal?
Unless you have the memory of supercomputer, it’s unlikely you can remember everything you eat and how many calories it was. It’s even more difficult to try and keep track of how many calories you are burning vs taking in without writing something down.
A weight loss journal allows you to easily keep track of your diet and exercise habits while also letting you go back and review past information.
Even if you have a great memory, keeping a journal makes it easier to make progressive changes as you’ll be able to see mathematically how differently you are doing things. Keeping a journal allows you to apply the hard science to your weight loss so you can maximise results.
Some of the things a weight loss journal enables you to do are:
- Focus and clarify your goals
- Break up goals into manageable bits
- Forecast future activity and eating behaviour
- Record exercise activity and fitness milestones
- Record tangential information you might otherwise easily forget
- Track you progress towards your daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals
- Closely track eating habits and your portion sizes
- Identify connections between certain foods and your mood
- Keep yourself motivated
- Stop eating unconsciously as you will keep track of every morsel
- Understand which stresses in your life are impacting your diet the most
- Keep track of your sleeping patterns
- Keep track of your blood pressure, BMI, cholesterol levels, etc
- Maintain a hardcopy record of all your progress
Things you should record in your weight loss journal
One of the big obstacles stopping people from enjoying the benefits of a weight loss journal is that they are convinced that keeping one is too complicated. The truth is that keeping weight loss journal only needs to be as complicated as you want it to be.
Like anything else related to weight loss, you should start slow and build momentum as you learn the ropes of keeping a journal. The key is to gradually improve your record keeping until it becomes second nature to you.
Some good things to start recording are:
- A short term weight loss target
- Your daily exercise routine
- How many times a day you eat and drink
- Your current weight and ideal weight
- Your body measurements, like height and waistline
As you progress, you can start recording other things such as:
- The amount of good sleep you get
- Your daily emotions
- Your daily levels of energy
Recording your food and drink consumption doesn’t mean you absolutely need to record every last calorie. All you need to do is keep a general track of what you’re eating and start changing your behaviour a little bit at a time.
David Smith was born and raised in Calgary Alberta and loves to share his passion for health and fitness with others. Apart from running his own podcast, which uploads weekly shows that covers current health trends, he spends his time canoeing and backpacking. David recently spent a summer working at the CFIA as a health supplement reviewer. In regards to academics, David studied kinesiology at Guelph University.