Writing things down in a journal can feel like homework, but if you’ve tried and failed to keep yourself on an eating plan or exercise schedule, this could be your key to success.
When I talk about writing it down, the first thing I mean is keeping a food journal. Studies have shown that keeping a food journal will help you lose twice as much weight than those who don’t. You can go old school and keep your food journal in a notebook, you could buy a planner, find free printables online or you can also keep your food journal online. There are several options for different online food journals. Or you could even keep your journal in something like Google Docs or Evernote. I recommend trying a few formats out to see what works best for you. Personally, I prefer the old fashioned paper and pen journals when I’m keeping track, but there is definitely an advantage to be able to keep records on your smart phone or tablet. The online food journals often can tell you a lot more information about what you’re eating, if you’re into that.
Keeping a food journal makes you more aware of what you eat. You are forced to think about it more. You’ll be surprised at the impact journaling can have on your decision making. Journaling will also force you to plan ahead more. Planning ahead is extremely important when you are trying to eat healthy. If you don’t have healthy options that you enjoy and taste great, you will probably end up eating something that wasn’t part of the plan. Going to the grocery store and buying a bunch of vegetables isn’t enough. You have to transform your healthy ingredients into something you will actually eat. And that takes planning.
Writing things down is also extremely important when it comes to exercise. You have to plan and schedule your workouts just like you would do with appointments or meetings. Write them down on your calendar, set reminders on your phone, however you want to do it, but you have to book them or they won’t get done. I find often, especially when I’ve planned to exercise after work, that I will make up excuses and try talk myself out if it. When those negative thoughts start to creep into your head — with all the other things you could be getting done with the time you’d be exercising or how you’ll just make it up tomorrow — just cut them off and don’t even go there. Make it hard to cancel a workout. Have a workout buddy that you are accountable to. Sleep in your workout clothes if you want to get up and go right in the morning. Pack your gym bag and keep it in the car for post-work exercise. And also schedule in fun things as exercise too — kayaking, playing soccer with your kids, hiking at a State Park, learning something new like stand up paddleboarding. Exercise doesn’t have to mean the treadmill.