The benefits of keeping a health journal are endless. Not only will you have a personalised source of information that you can turn to whenever you need it, but your fitness journal will give you the confidence and motivation to start and continue your weight loss journey.
Wondering what sort of information you can fill your health journal with to best equip you on this new adventure? Here are our top recommendations:
KEEP TRACK OF WEIGHT LOSS & BODY MEASUREMENTS
Keeping track of body measurements and your weight loss progress is probably the best thing to record in your health journal. The success of your weight loss journey is based on results, so how will you know if things are going well if you don’t track your progress?
It’s important that you record your progress in different ways, rather than solely relying on the scale.
Body weight is the most common form of measurement when it comes to weight loss and can be a very useful tool. We recommend weighing yourself at the same time every day and averaging your weights for the week. This is because weight can vary during different parts of the day (you are heavier at night after a day of eating than you are when you first wake up in the morning). It’s also important not to obsess over day to day weigh-ins as they are not completely reliable and not indicative of your overall progress. As you lose fat and gain muscle, you may even find your weight increasing (this is because muscle weights more than fat), so make sure you use several measurement methods to really back up your progress.
Body measurements are a great way to track your progress. This method allows you to record the measurements of sections of your body, so you know where you’re losing the most weight and how your body is transforming. Grab a tape measure and measure your chest, waist, midway section (around the tummy), hips, thighs, knees and calves.
Progress photos are an incredible way to track long term weight loss and have a visual representation of the progress you’re making on your weight loss journey. Take full-body shots of your front, left and right sides, and back. Progress photos are not a very scientific form of measurement, but they are a powerful indicator of your progress and great motivators. Sometimes you won’t even realise the weight coming off until you look at an old progress photo from a month back!
RECORD EXERCISES & ROUTINES
Your health journal is also a great place to keep track of your fitness. Keeping information on different exercises (like technique and level of difficulty) and exercise routines (like number of reps and sets for a mixture of exercises to form a workout routine) will give you a catalogue of exercises and routines that you can use when you’re low in ideas and need some inspiration.
RECORD DIET AND CALORIES
A health journal is a great place to record your calorie intake, so you can be sure you aren’t overeating or undereating. Remember, diet is 80% of the battle, so it’s important that you really hone in on your eating habits. A journal is the perfect tool to help keep you accountable (you may even decide against indulging in unhealthy foods because you won’t want to record it in your journal)!
You can even get creative and start filling your journal with recipes, including ingredients, cooking methods, calorie counts and even photos. This way, you’ll have all your favourite healthy meals easily accessible to you.
Don’t forget to track your water/liquid intake to ensure you are consuming an adequate amount of water every day.
EXPRESS HOW YOU FEEL
It’s important that your health and fitness journey is a positive experience that evokes positive emotions. We’re not saying it’ll be easy, but things like healthy eating and exercise should become easier as you go.
It's okay to have lazy days or feel like bingeing your favourite snacks in front of the TV – we’re only human, and that’s completely normal. But if you continually dread working out and hate eating healthy, there are things you can change to start loving leading a healthier lifestyle. Developing feelings of hatred will only skew your perception of fitness and health towards the negative, which will only harm your weight loss progress. That’s why it’s important to recognise what does and doesn’t work for you.
That’s why it’s important to make note of how you feel about a recipe or workout. You’ll be able to recognise what you enjoy, and the journey to weight loss will become a much more enjoyable one.
If you feel satisfied after a balanced meal and accomplished (albeit a little sore and tired) after a productive workout, then you’re doing well!
It’s also useful to know how things like water intake and amount of sleep make you feel and how they can have an impact on your weight loss and fitness journey.
FIND OUT WHAT WORKS FOR YOU
There is no one universal solution or formula when it comes to weight loss. Keeping a health journal and consistently entering information about your fitness journey (everything mentioned above) will help you spot which exercise routines and diets work best for your needs. Like a fitness buddy, your journal will keep you accountable and may even motivate you to do better. Looking back on old body measurements and how far you’ve come will encourage you to keep going and remind you that you’ve made progress. There are so many incredible benefits to keeping a health journal, so grab a pen and notebook (or even just your phone) and start recording your fitness journey! It’ll be worth it.