Many people trying to lose weight often look for the “best” diet, the newest weight loss pill or quick fix. Losing weight is not easy and it doesn’t come quick. The recommended, safe weight loss is 1-2lbs per week. Not “quick” by any means. Instead of a quick fix, try looking inward and utilize self-reflection. It’s important to head in the direction of a lifestyle change. Start with a Food Journal and Exercise Log.
In one study by the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, “participants who kept food journals lost almost double the weight of their non-journaling counterparts.” And the ACSM reports self-monitoring tools such as a Food & Exercise Log can help motivate participants trying to lose weight. Here’s why:
A Food Journal and Exercise Log holds you accountable. We often don’t realize how much we eat until we actually write it down. One study on improving weight loss found the average weight loss more than doubled when self-monitoring and feedback were included. Dr. Kendall Krause, notes, “Experts agree that the ultimate value lies in the formation of a ‘foundation of personal accountability.’ Almost everyone agrees that accountability is the most important ingredient behind any successful lifestyle change, including weight loss.” Often those trying to lose weight don’t realize how hard they have to work physically to burn the calories. When you have to write down you only walked for 15 minutes, you begin to realize you need to do much more in order to attain your goals.
2. Align Goals:
If your goal is to lose weight or even to tone, a journal will help you get there. By writing down your caloric intake and daily activity, you align your actions with your intentions. This will help you achieve your goals in a timely fashion.
A log allows for reflection. Fill out the following: Food Diary & Exercise Log. Record food and exercise honestly and habitually. Then on Sundays, go back and reflect. Look at your food intake and ask yourself the following questions:
- Did I eat healthy, nutrient rich foods?
- Did I eat out more often than I ate at home?
- Where are my problem areas?
- What could I do better? Could I substitute certain foods with healthier versions?
Examine your exercise portion and ask yourself these questions:
- Was I active for 30 minutes for at least 3-5 days a week? (5 days is recommended for weight loss) If not, what stood in my way?
- Did I work opposing muscle groups in my strength training (recommend 2X a week) workouts in order to avoid muscle imbalance and injury?
- Am I utilizing every opportunity I have to be active? (example: taking the stairs, parking in the back in the parking lot)
- What are some options for activity I can fit in to my calendar next week?
Even if you only use your log for a month, you will be headed in the right direction. A diary will allow you to see where you need to make changes you can incorporate into your daily life and keep you on track for a healthy future.
App tracking tools:
MyPlate Calorie Tracker
What are some other ways you hold yourself accountable?