The Power of Journaling

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On this site I’ve done several reviews on different apps and programs that allow a user to track food, water, and exercise.  I want to run through a few of them as a quick recap before I get into the gist of this post.

Weight Watchers app: a subscription plan that assigns point values to different food items and meals. Users are limited to a certain amount of points per day. The app also lets you track exercise by connecting to different devices and earning exercise points.

My Fitness Pal: a free app that lets the user track their food.  Instead of using the point system like Weight Watchers does, My Fitness Pal tracks calories and sets a limit per day.  It also gives you the nutritional value of each food, so at the end of the day, you can review your totals.  The goal is to stay under a certain amount of grams and milligrams for carbs, fat, protein, sodium, and sugar.  You can also track water, and exercise on this site/app as well.

The Fitbit App:  While you need a Fitbit to accurately track your exercise, the Fitbit app itself is free to download and use, and lets you track water and food.  The food tracking section is similar to My Fitness Pal in that it tracks calories.  The excise portion cannot be imported manually, like the others allow, so for most in terms of tracking this app is not the best option unless you actually have a Fitbit.

So why am I bringing up tracking so much?  Because with all the great apps and different tracking tools available, I have yet to find one that brings it all together in a way I really like.  For example, right now I am using the Weight Watchers app for my food, I track my walking/running miles on the Nike Running App (review to come on this one soon), I wear my Fitbit Alta to track steps and participate in challenges with my family, and finally, I use the notes app that comes on the phone to track my reps and sets and weight amounts for my gym sessions.

That’s a lot of apps for a healthy lifestyle.  Keeping up with it can be annoying sometimes, but being on top of it is important.  Besides the annoying part, it also makes it hard to see a complete picture of your progress.  That’s why even though I use all of these apps on a day to day basis, I’ve found a new day to track it all in one place.  Now, this way is kind of old school, but I promise it is actually more fun that it seems. 🙂

It’s not uncommon for people to keep a journal, or diary as some people call it.  Its also a really good way to get things “off your chest,” so to speak.  So why not do it in relation to exercise and nutrition?  Take a look at how I do my entries everyday…

This entry is from a while ago, but I want to share it with you so you can see what a typical day looks like.  I like to keep the same template everyday.  It keeps my consistent, and makes it easier to track after a long day.  The notes section is so important, because it gives you a chance to evaluate how your day went and how it affected your eating and workout for the day.  When you break down everything meal by meal, measure out everything, write down your workout in detail, and then write down how you felt throughout the day, it really puts the day in perspective.  Any issues that came up can be put to paper, and worked on for the next day.

Another great part of journaling everyday is that a week from now you can look back and see how things went.  A month from now, you can flip back through the book, and see your progress.  That week you did awesome and lost weight or killed your workout, what did you eat? If you went up one week, or felt unmotivated, did you write in the notes that you were stressed? How much water are you drinking everyday? Did you skip your BCAAs a few days and that’s why you were sore the next day?  All of these questions can be answered by looking at the patterns and being honest with your journal.

I also want to add that this method of tracking is definitely not limited to a book.  Before I continue take a look below at the template that my mom uses for her tracking.

In the eating section, next to all the food that mom eats, she also puts a little sad or smiley face next to each meal.  That way at the end of the week, or month, there is an easy way to look back and evaluate her results.

These days people use electronics for everything.  My recommendation is go out and pick up a cheap, small, brand new book and get back to the basics. Make it a daily event of writing it all done, and help yourself push forward towards your goals. 🙂



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