Keeping a journal to track and achieve goals is an age-old practice that is beneficial across a multitude of aspirations and objectives. Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius kept a journal to better himself and maintain spiritual consciousness, Thomas Edison kept a journal to refine his inventions and maintain creative productivity, and you should keep a journal to achieve your weight loss goals and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
While you may think you know exactly how much you eat every day, it is actually tricky to understand without physically tracking it. Journaling for weight loss can help you pick up on patterns that may be associated with poor diet choices.
Everything you eat and drink: Be specific and include portion size. Remember that a burger you cook at home will have a different caloric value than a fast-food burger. Be sure to track the caloric and nutritional values as accurately as possible.
Time of day: Some people may opt for fast, unhealthy options during lunch rush or late at night while watching TV. Track when you are eating to notice patterns of late-night binging or unhealthy cravings on the weekends.
Who you were with: We may have a pattern of making unhealthy diet choices around certain people. Of course, we cannot cut these people off, but recognizing this pattern can help us mentally prepare to make better choices.
Where you were: Eating habits may be different depending on where we are such as the dinner table, the desk or on the couch.
Your mood when you ate: There is a strong link between our emotions and our eating habits. You may find that you eat more when you are stressed or upset.
How much sleep you got the night before: People tend to eat more on days they get little sleep or poor quality sleep.
How much you exercised: You may notice that you overeat after a workout to gain back energy. Tracking your exercise helps maintain motivation while becoming aware of diet patterns that accompany your physical activity.
Water intake: Hydration is an essential aspect of overall health and should be tracked as such. Many people tend to think they are hungry when they are actually thirsty, causing them to eat when they should be drinking water. You may notice your water intake will drastically increase as your caloric intake decreases to a more healthy level.