One of your secret weapons for weight loss is keeping a journal.
A big component of my plan is your journal. You’ve most likely heard this advice before, but today, let’s put it into action and take journaling to the next level for ultimate results. Keeping a journal is a great way to review your day, making not of the people, places, and things that may have triggered hot flashes, stress and emotional reactions. My journal has been my constant companion in my fitness lifestyle. I find that the act of writing itself releases anxiety and clears my mind of negative thinking.
Keeping a journal is a surefire way to stay on track because it holds you accountable to yourself. In fact, it’s been proven time and again that those who track their progress achieve far greater results than those who don’t. As a ReShape member, download my free Health Journal here (from my 30 Days of Summer e-Book).
Get Down To The Nitty-Gritty
In your journal, record the following information:
Keep track of what you eat every day
Enter what workouts you do. Be sure to include all physical activities because they all have n impact on your fitness level and weight loss. For example, record that you took the stairs rather than the elevator or that you walked instead of drove to the store.
Record your hunger levels before and after meals. Use a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 means “stuffed” and 5 means “starving.”
A 3 is “normal,” and that is where you want to be most of the time.
Record what’s happening in your life too. Write down your thoughts, what mood you are in, what life events are most affecting you, and so on. Were you happy and lighthearted or edgy and annoyed? Your mental attitude has a lot to do with your physical energy and you can learn to use happiness as a motivator in your success.
The Bad Day Barometer
If you feel “ruined” by a day of overeating and little or no exercise, it is especially important to record your thoughts and the happenings of the day. There could be days when you are on the go and do not pack a meal. So you go to a fast-food joint. When you feel tired and overworked, you may fall prey to comfort foods that are high in fat and calories. Be sure to make the entry, even if you would rather skip it or pretend it did not exist. Seeing these difficult days charted on paper will help you identify behavioral patterns, pitfalls and roadblocks that prevent you from being a successful eater. It can help explain why and when you eat certain foods. And this in turn will help you make positive changes.
What’s Your Rhythm?
All aspects of our well-being flow in cycles. Yet, I’m always surprised when someone hasn’t figured out her own energy rhythms — when she hasn’t noticed, for example, what time of day her body is most “ready” for exercise, critical thinking, creative work, sex, sleep, and so on. Coming to terms with your energy cycles is one of the most basic levels of body awareness and can only be done by observing your body.
When people ask me the secret to living fully in their bodies, I tell the honestly: It’s all about trial and error — especially error! It’s about learning to spot the patterns. It took me years of being on the road, with the stress of travel and performance, to learn exactly what I need to do to keep myself going at my peak.
For example, I’ve had several times in the past month when my glands were a little swollen. Now, that’s a small thing, sure. But I’ve learned (the hard way) that it’s something I need to listen to — it tells me I’m under extra stress. By being sensitive to small things, I can adjust my life in small ways to keep myself healthy.
Part of keeping a beneficial journal is tracking your goals. Take a moment to print off the my Goal-Setting Guide here and write down your goals, whether it’s:
– Weight loss
– Lowering your blood pressure
– Increasing energy
– Getting more enjoyment out of life
This is an important part of the process and should not be overlooked. Put this list in a place where you’ll see it regularly (the fridge, the bathroom mirror, on your desk) so you can keep coming back to remind yourself why you’ve made this choice.
Remember, the goal here is to make progress. Every important journey begins with a single step, so let’s take that all important first step together.
This week, focus on:
– Goal setting, and focusing how helpful it is when it comes to identifying your patterns
– Being patient with yourself as you reflect on what’s happening in your life.
Remember, that day-by-day, you’re making baby steps to not only remodel your body, but also your entire life.
Make it happen!