Using a journal is an excellent way to track your progress when you’re looking to lose weight and get healthier and fitter in your lifestyle. It helps hold you accountable and it allows you to see the physical and mental changes as you progress on your health and wellness journey.
As long as you are consistent with your tracking, a journal can be an amazing tool to speed your success. You must make it a habit though, where you are putting down information to analyze each day and you’re reviewing results to see how best to change and maximize results. Here’s how to go about journaling and the types of things you need to track to make sure you’re journaling properly for greater accomplishments.
Track Your Mood
It is not just about the physical results and pounds lost but also the mental aspect along a health and wellness journey. So, you should write down your mood points—how you are when you wake up, mid-day, after a workout, and before bed. This helps you see how your lifestyle is affecting you, as well as other aspects, like your stresses, relationships and wellness activities, like workouts.
Monitor Sleep Stats
Sleep can improve or hinder mood, as well as weight loss and management. You want to get 7-8 hours nightly to make sure you can keep hormones regulated and mood balanced to best fight stress and feel more productive in the day. Plus, getting sleep can reduce cravings and keep appetite in check, so you’ll likely make better eating habits and perform better in workouts.
Record Workout Performances
Track how your workouts are going—are you reaching the new goals? Did you go up in weights? Are you able to do more reps or go another mile distance? And record how you are feeling after. Are you fatigued? Too sore? A good sore?
These are things that help you check in to figure out ways to improve and protect your body, as well as to enjoy those workouts and stay on track with results. Jot down how often you are going and if you are looking to shed weight, hop on the scale each week and write down what it says to hold you accountable. But keep in mind that “weight loss” goals aren’t always indicative of results from your workouts, there are myriad factors that contribute to a healthier lifestyle. Not just a number on a scale.
Write Down What You Eat (Everything!)
In addition to writing down your meals and snacks of the day, also write down any mindless snacking or additional foods you had that maybe were not as planned into your meal plan. Did you eat some samples at the store? Did you dip into a bag of chips with your roommate or significant other?
These things add up, and they can go missed if not recorded for you to see later on and realize where those additional calories may have come from.
Journaling can also help you figure out any intolerances or sensitivities—record how you feel after eating certain foods. Is there GI distress? Are you tired? This helps you avoid making the same dietary mistakes down the road.
Post Photos Along the Weeks
Visuals are great for showing a non-biased option as we can be hard on ourselves and not always see what’s in the mirror. And that scale might go up if you are PMSing or have eaten a salty meal, for example, due to temporary water weight.
By posting photos each week you can see as the weeks go by what you really do look like from different angles. This will help keep things in perspective and allow you to see if you are on the right track or need to step things back up or change some behaviors.