Keep track one day at a time

food_journal_0916 Maintaining a healthy weight is a large part of your journey to Whole Health. There is no one correct way to achieve your weight management goals, but the most effective plan is the one you can commit to long term.

I strongly believe in keeping a food and exercise diary. If you’ve tried this in the past and found it tedious or time consuming, perhaps this message will inspire you. Your success depends on setting goals. By writing down your goals, you will more likely follow them through. And you will also see where you’re falling short.

Record what you eat

A 2008 study conducted by Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Health Research revealed that keeping a food diary helped double weight loss.1 The study revealed that the more food records people kept, the more weight they lost. It seems that the simple act of writing down what you eat encourages scrutiny of food intake and quality, helping you consume fewer calories.

Keeping a food diary doesn’t have to be fancy. Use a notebook or purchase a food journal at your local bookstore or Amazon. You could even download an app on your phone (like Lose It).

Things to jot down in a notebook:

  • Day and date
  • Food and drink
  • Amount of each
  • How you felt before and after eating/drinking

Try not to underestimate your food intake. Remember, everything counts, including the third cup of coffee you had with cream or the chicken nugget you ate off your child’s plate. Seeing every little bit on paper can help you identify where the excess calories are coming from; therefore, helping you to adjust your diet accordingly. You will stray, and that’s OK, as long as you recognize that you’re straying. That will nudge you to get back on track.

Record your physical activity

Your fitness plans can go off track just as easily as your eating habits. Not only is recording your exercise beneficial, but recording how you feel before and after is equally important. Athletes do this to keep themselves stay accountable, to monitor progress and to reflect on what may be contributing to your success or failure. But you don’t have to be an athlete to reap the benefits of journaling.

I believe keeping a fitness/exercise journal will help you become more active and happier. For instance, if you did a yoga class on Monday and you felt great, then you skipped exercise Tuesday but noticed how sluggish you felt, you will likely return to that yoga class for the feeling it gave you.

Simply jot down in a notebook:

  • Day and time
  • Feelings – happy, sad, or neutral
  • Activity – what type and the intensity
  • Body assessment – was there any pain
  • Nutrition – what did you eat before and after
  • Sleep – how much sleep you got the night before; did you take any naps

There are some great apps you can download that do the heavy lifting for you. MyFitnessPal has a large food database and calorie counter. Nutrition Menu and MyPlate are two other favorites of mine.

Has journaling helped you in your weight loss goals? We’d love to hear about your tips and suggestions. It’s easy, but consistency is key.


MyFitnessPal, Nutrition Menu and MyPlate are third party trademarks and are the property of their respective owners. Genesis PURE, Inc. disclaims any proprietary interest in the marks and names of others. Genesis PURE, Inc. and this independent publication are not authorized, sponsored, or otherwise endorsed by these intellectual property owners.  

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