“If you are really serious about losing weight, you need to be completely honest with yourself about what you’re eating.” ~Unknown
When I first got serious about weight loss and living a healthier life, I started using my FitBit app to log my food. The app would tell me how many calories I had burned that day, how many calories I had consumed, and how many calories were left in my daily “budget.”
The world moves so fast and we all have busy lifestyles. It’s too easy to mindlessly eat little “treats” here and there. They pass us by and we don’t even realize that they are becoming habits.
This is why, when you are trying to lose weight, it is extremely important to write down what you eat and drink, as soon as possible.
Logging in an app worked for me pretty well for the first 20 pounds. I didn’t have to learn much about nutrition and I didn’t have to put a lot of effort into paying attention to what I was doing.
After I’d lost 20 pounds on my own, I started working with Steve to get body fat measurements and expert advise. I showed up to my first session excited to tell him how much I’d already learned on my own and to show him my food logs on the FitBit app.
He was kind and very impressed at how far I’d come, but he highly recommended that I start writing my food logs by hand.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing!
With how far technology has come, this man wanted me to carry around a pen and paper all the time to physically write everything I ate and drank?!
So, I started carrying around a pen and paper all the time and physically wrote everything I ate and drank.
You Consume Less
This is when things got real. If I had a “cheat meal” or a little treat, it was a lot more painful to write it down on a piece of paper than it would have been to select it on my phone.
Because of this, I found myself “cheating” less and less because it was so much easier not to eat the peanut butter cup than it would be to admit it to my food log.
You Exercise More
Even on my busiest days, I couldn’t stand the thought of a blank section on my fitness log.
I would rather come home dead-tired from a long day at work and take a 15-minute walk than leave that box blank. If it weren’t for my fitness log, it would have been easy to just come home and sit on the couch after those long days.
You get a Little Shot of Instant Gratification
Let’s face it: Weight loss is all about getting comfortable with delayed gratification.
In our fast-paced world though, we crave instant gratification. It surprised me, but the fitness log really satisfied that for me.
Adding food & exercise into an app was more of a chore than anything, but writing it down and admiring the finished product at the end of the day made me feel really good about what I had accomplished.
It Will Encourage You to Keep it Up
Have you heard anyone say “don’t break the chain” when they are practicing a new habit?
Habit tracking, logging and so on works! It’s because it feels good to keep going when you’re already doing well.
When I look back at my habit tracker and see that I’ve stuck to my meal plan and exercised every day for the past week, it motivates me to do it for another week and on and on and on.
You’ll Start to Notice Patterns
When I began looking back at my fitness logs, I noticed some patterns. Patterns like, I’m more likely to indulge in a glass of wine or pasta (or BOTH!) on Payroll Tuesdays, or I miss my workouts more on the weekends than I do during the week, or I always overeat when I go out with a particular group of friends.
Identifying these patterns has helped me to better plan for them.
If it’s been a particularly difficult day at work, I make sure to turn the kettle on as soon as I get home. This way, settling down with a cup of tea is just as easy as a glass of wine.
If I have a low-key, un-structured weekend coming up, I schedule time with myself to take a walk or get in a good session at the gym.
When I go out with friends who notoriously encourage me to overeat, I’ll have a small, healthy snack or meal before going out so I’m less hungry.
Why it Helps
Writing my food logs by hand taught me the “how” behind everything I had already been doing to lose weight, and helped me to take it to the next level.
When it comes down to it, creating new habits can be tough. If hand-writing your food & exercise log means you aren’t going to do it at all, keep track electronically! Do what works for you, but pay attention to what you are eating and how often you are exercising.
It’s too easy to fall into poor eating habits without even realizing we are doing it. By keeping a journal to track food consumption and exercise habits we are more likely to consume less, exercise more often, gain the instant gratification that we used to get from food, feel more encouraged to stick with newer, better habits and find patterns that may need to be broken.
Recording my food, drinks and exercise daily helped me lose the last 20 pounds of the 40 I lost in ten months. You can gain access to my free fitness log here.
Thanks for the Link-Up, Jen!