I encourage everyone who is wanting to make positive, healthy changes in their lives to start a journal. Write down your goals. Every day write down everything you eat, every time you workout, and how you are feeling. “This seems like a lot of work! What’s the point of this exercise?” is usually the response I get. There are so many reasons that journaling is important!
1. Journaling keeps track of all those little “extras”. Many times we think we only have the occasional treat, but once we start writing things down, we realize that dessert or little treats is a more often occurrence than we thought. It also deters us from cheating when we know we will have to write down what we ate. Even if no one sees our journal but us, it helps us with self-control.
2. Journaling makes you aware of when you are eating. Keeping track allows you to spot patterns you need to change. Maybe you have a late-night binge after a day of under eating, or maybe you simply graze all day, adding up to more calories than your body needs. It can also show you patterns in emotional eating. When you keep track of how you are feeling every day along with the food you ate, you will be better prepared to deal with those emotions in the future.
3. Journaling helps you with portion control. Instead of eyeballing portions, you will be measuring in order to correctly record your calories. This will help train you to eat the right portions out of habit, and eventually be able to eyeball them correctly.
4. The most important thing journaling does is allow you to see your habits changing. You will be able to look back and see the positive changes you are making! Journaling will boost your self-control and self-confidence. You will begin to see that healthy eating, exercise and healthy emotions are becoming a way of life for you.
I recommend getting a small journal (or use your portable device) that you can easily carry with you during the day. Start first thing in the morning by recording how you feel when you wake up. Keep track of everything you put in your mouth all day long (including drinks), and how many calories are in each. You can get as detailed as you want with this, recording as much nutritional information as you choose. Make sure that you are also journaling your emotions through out the day. Record your physical activity during the day as well. End the day with a short journal entry about how you feel about your day before going to bed. You will find that journaling will make a big difference in helping you reach your goals!
Once you have reached your goal, you can scale back your journaling. Maybe taking it to once a week simply detailing your highs and lows. You will find that the progress you have made has become a lifestyle. However, just because you have reached your goal weight, doesn’t mean you have to stop journaling! Whenever I have times where maybe I’m not eating as clean as I should, or I’m lacking in motivation to exercise, I start a new journal. Writing every thing down motivates me all over again to make the right choices for my health!