Food and fitness journal, Smart Dimensions™, Fountain Valley, CAWhen someone mentions keeping a food or fitness journal, the response is almost always the same – why? Is there any point to writing down how much exercise you’ve done or what you’ve eaten in a day?

As it turns out, there is.

Write it Down, Watch it Work.

The very act of writing down the activity or what you had to eat makes you more mindful of it. Mindfulness of eating and exercise curbs cravings and the urge to sabotage the work you’ve already put into losing weight and getting fit. There are even scientific studies that show keeping a journal helps improve your odds of success.

Become More Aware

By tracking what you eat and the exercise activity you’re involved in, you’re actively aware of it. You don’t mindfully stuff handfuls of chips or snacks in your mouth while watching TV. The rule is: if you bite it, you write it. Even if you miss a day or two and feel like giving up – don’t! Get right back up and start tracking again.

See How Far You’ve Come

Doing this consistently over time will not only show you your eating habits (and for some people, a reminder that they’re eating junk!) but will also serve as a timeline to show how far you’ve come. Imagine starting today at your current weight, and then following through for just a few weeks – the fact that writing it down can more than double your weight loss should be a big enough motivator. And seeing how far you’ve come is even more inspiration to keep going!

How to Get Started

Getting started is easy, and oftentimes free! All you need is a notepad and a pen. Or if you’re more into using technology, there are plenty of free and low-cost apps to help you track your food intake and your exercise. Some of them even show calorie counts so you’ll know whether or not you can splurge at the end of a hard day’s work! You can even print out online food tracker calendars to easily write down your progress.

It doesn’t matter what kind of app you use or how you choose to track your food and exercise. What matters is that you get into the habit of doing it regularly. When you finally do hit your ideal weight, look back at the first days. Remember how much of a struggle it was to get into the habit of following through and writing down EVERYTHING? In doing so, you’ve challenged yourself and overcome that challenge to look and feel your best – and all it took was that one first step, then another, then another.

So grab a notepad, an app or a printed calendar sheet and get started – the sooner you do, the sooner you could see results!