One thing they tell you to do when you start any sort of lifestyle change is to start a food/fitness journal. Track what you are eating, the time you are eating, and how you felt after you finished. Did you feel satisfied? Happy? Guilty?
Same goes for exercise. What did you do? For how long?
Based on all the studies I have read on lifestyle change, this seems to be crucial to success. One study I read said that people who tracked their food and exercise on a daily basis were 2 to 3 times more likely to succeed with long term changes, including weight loss.
I’ve tried tracking in the past (Weight Watchers, My Fitness Pal, etc.) and had some limited success. They helped me drop a few pounds here and there, one time as much as 30 pounds which was fairly impressive.
Unfortunately, once you plateau (and you will), the weight stops dropping and the desired results stop being visible, that’s when Evil Doubt Brain rears its ugly head.
EVIL DOUBT BRAIN: “You’re not losing any more weight. Why are you depriving yourself of all these yummy things you enjoy? Dude, seriously? What’s the point? Hey, remember how good Cheetos taste? Let’s drive to that 7-11 on the corner and buy the jumbo bag! … Walk? Pfffffft, who has time for that? We have valuable video games to spend all night playing. Plus you’ll just get your new flip-flops all dirty … Go to the gym? What the hell’s a gym?”
… Yeah. Pretty soon after that, you stop tracking, then a few months later all that hard work and all those gains you made disappear. The weight comes back on, and you feel like shit.
The legendary William Goldman once said, “The easiest thing to do on earth is not write.”
As some who fancies themselves as a writer, I can say this is 100% true. However, I want to add that the second easiest thing to do on earth is to not pay attention to how much you are eating, how often, or how you feel afterward.
Now how do we fix it?
Here is what I’m thinking. Each morning I will start a new blog and keep it in my drafts. Throughout the day I will update it whenever I have a meal, a snack, go for a walk, hit the gym, and most importantly how I feel after. At the end of each night, I post the blog for the world to see. Strictly to hold myself accountable, and to let my friends and loved ones know I am still committed to the changes I need to make.
For now, I’m not going to track calories or carbs or whatever. I’m just going to do my best to eat sensibly without depriving myself of the things I love. I’m going to log the times I am active with the duration and intensity of what I’m doing. Lastly, I’m going to track my mood, as this likely has the biggest impact on my current wellbeing.
I’m going to play with the format for a few days and find something that works and is easy to update.
I’ll let you know what I come up with soon.