Keeping a weight loss journal is a good idea. Here’s why

Friday, Nov 18, 2022 Lifestyle

Writing, as a practice, is both powerful and effective. Putting your thoughts to paper helps your mind map out your problems, while also allowing you to work toward a solution. You can write to mark your progress, or simply perform an act of self-care. While a weight loss journal doubles as a wonderful, problem-solving, mindful act of self-love, it also produces very real results.

According to a recent, six-month study that was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, weight watchers who maintained weight loss journals for six days a week lost nearly double the weight as those who recorded their progress for less than one day a week.

 

Table of contents:

  • Where should you even start, though?
  • What should you log into your weight loss journal?
  • Tracking and insights
  • Identifying problematic areas
  • Understanding and tackling patterns
  • Creating a bond with calories
  • Setting goals
  • Setting up accountability
  • Processing your mood and feelings
  • Having a close, personal “friend” that keeps you in check

 

Where should you even start, though?

Beginning to maintain a weight loss journal can sound intimidating, but it’s actually quite easy and can be fun as well. You can begin this journey with the Healthi app, which allows you to make notes while tracking your intake. However, when you do progress towards a physical weight loss journal, the transition can be seamless.

Think about it: do you have a journal that’s been lying around your home and you haven’t quite been able to put it to use? Or have you been eyeing a journal that you really want to buy, but can’t decide what you’ll log into it? Well, take that journal out of your cupboard, or place it into your cart and begin your journey. It’s as simple as that.

weight loss journal

 

What should you log into your weight loss journal?

Start with the basics, and work your way up. A general overview of what your weight loss journal can look like would be as follows:

  • Penciling in your intake in detail is important. Note down which food and beverage you’ve consumed. You are also encouraged to include how that food item was prepared. Was it grilled, boiled, or baked? Did you add any sauces to it, or did you put an additional sweetener in your beverage? All of it goes into the journal.
  • Making a note of how much you’re eating helps as well. You can log in the calories you’re consuming. Additionally, you can weigh or measure your food and note that down as well (for example, in cups, tablespoons, or teaspoons).
  • Being aware of what time you’re eating is also important. While you may be sticking to three meals a day, this will enable you to also jot down any odd hours at which you’re consuming food. This will help you identify problematic patterns that can be tackled.
  • Penning down where you are also helps. Your setting will help determine if certain spaces make you eat more or less. As a bonus, if you’re not eating at home, punch in the cost of the meal you’re enjoying from a restaurant and cafe. This will help your budget in the long term as well.
  • Writing down who you’re with will help determine if certain people you’re around trigger habits such as binge eating or overeating. Identifying this as a problem will help you take measures to be more mindful moving forward.
  • Noting down what you’re doing will enable you to see how something as simple as watching television can lead to you overeating. You can begin to create a picture for when mindfulness during consumption is absent, and how that impacts your eating habits.
  • Jotting down your feelings will help you process how certain food items make you feel, and how you feel after consuming them. Sometimes, we crave food that leaves us feeling guilty or unhappy. Tracking these triggers will help you break the prevalent cycle.

While all of this briefly outlines how to begin your journey towards maintaining a weight loss journal, we must probe further to unearth the complete entirety of the benefits that it provides.

What should you log

 

Tracking and insights

While you may think that you’re devoting a few minutes of your day to entering all this data into your journal, what you’re really doing is creating a larger understanding of your nutritional and personal habits. Reviewing these will allow you to gain key insights that can be leveraged to change your relationship with food and your habits.

Tracking and insights

 

Identifying problem areas

When you maintain a weight loss journal in great detail, you’re simultaneously flagging areas that need due attention. Victoria Catenacci, MD, who is the assistant professor of Medicine at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, highlights how you increase your awareness regarding your consumption and daily habits, especially when noting down the nitty gritty details that you’d otherwise disregard or forget. Megrette Fletcher, MEd, RD, executive director of The Center for Mindful Eating, corroborates this by stating that doing so allows you to decrease mindless eating.

Identifying problem areas

 

Understanding and tackling patterns

You’ve added in your data and are starting to see the big picture, regarding your habits and intake. Once the problem areas have been highlighted, you now have a better chance at combating the respective triggers. Are you overeating when you’re spending time with a particular friend? Is work stress disrupting your eating pattern? Are certain arguments triggering you in a way that causes you to resort to emotional eating? Do you use food as a reward?

Your weight loss journal will allow you to ask all these questions, and make vital connections that can facilitate your journey toward healthy living. Sherrie Delinsky, Ph.D. – a staff psychologist at Massachusetts General Hospital – agrees with this train of thought, sharing how weight loss journals “unveil patterns of overeating.”

Understanding and tackling patterns

 

Creating a bond with calories

You’re going to be counting calories as you journal. Not only will this better your understanding of the same, but it will also help you figure out what to add or cut out from your diet. This also works in a more holistic way, paving a path for you to better comprehend nutrition, thereby adding or subtracting elements based on their nutritional value.

However, if you’re someone who struggles to count calories, or are hesitant to log them in due to inaccuracies, using the Healthi app is a great place to get acquainted and expand upon your understanding.

Creating a bond with calories

 

Setting goals

An intriguing goal-setting method is the implementation of the SMART goal strategy. Breaking this down, these goals are essentially Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-related – or SMART.

For example, if you’ve logged in the fact that you consume a sugary beverage a few hours before sleeping, whilst simultaneously logging in how you feel after (bloated, more alert, unable to sleep), you now have a goal you can hope to achieve: reduce night-time beverage intake. This can be done by eliminating the beverage altogether from your routine, or by swapping it out for something that’s a lot healthier.

The idea of setting up realistic, measurable goals doubles as a progress checklist, where you can tick off things you’ve achieved successfully, while also noting down the impact of those changes.

Setting goals

 

Setting up accountability

When you’re maintaining a weight loss journal, you’re accountable to yourself. You also know that deviating from the journal by omitting intake patterns only harms you, and derails your own progress. Not only does this instill discipline in your life, but it also makes you more mindful of your habits. Thinking about reaching for a late-night snack? The journal will know. That, alone, might stop you from opening the fridge to indulge yourself mindlessly.

Even then, as great as accountability is, you cannot be too hard on yourself. Chances are, you will fumble and falter in the beginning. That’s completely fine. Progress does not always have to be linear, but it absolutely must be sincere.

Setting up accountability

 

Processing your mood and feelings

As mentioned earlier, writing is a powerful tool. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, journaling can actually help manage anxiety and cope with stress. It also helps you prioritize your problems, and track your progress. Use your weight loss journal as your personal diary for all things related to your journey towards being healthier, and watch it work wonders.

Processing your mood and feelings

 

Having a close, personal “friend” that keeps you in check

Maintaining a weight loss journal can feel like sharing vital information with a non-judgmental friend who wants what’s best for you. You feel less alone on the journey upon which you’ve embarked. Moreover, the act of writing, or penning down your data, thoughts, and feelings, can offer solace in the form of companionship.

Having a close friend

To conclude, keeping a weight loss journal is indeed a great way to mark, track, and learn from the data you log in, thereby creating an intimate understanding of your own body and its habits. If you’ve been thinking about maintaining your own journal or have thought about it and haven’t effectively begun, this is your sign to hop aboard this wonderfully beneficial process. We might be biased but we also recommend using the Healthi app as your companion on your weight loss journey.