Should You Start a Weight Loss Journal?

  • By Dr. Anand Thakkar
  • 16 Mar, 2016
You don't just want to lose weight so you can look thinner and feel more confident. You also want to shed some pounds so you can become healthier and more athletic—and you want to avoid conditions associated with obesity, like diabetes and heart disease.

However, no matter what you try, you can't seem to stick to your diets or exercise regimens. You lose motivation because you don't see change or because you feel hungry, tired, and unhappy. To keep to your goals and lose weight, you'll need to find something to motivate you, like a weight loss journal.

These journals don't work for everyone, but they do help some people stay inspired. Read the information below to see if this strategy will help you stick with your weight loss objectives.

The Advantages of a Weight Loss Journal

Depending on your personality, a journal could give you just what you need to feel motivated. They bring you the following benefits:

1. You can outline and focus your goals in writing.

Sometimes people fail to keep up with diets and exercise because they only have a nebulous idea of how many pounds or inches they want to lose. If numbers and concrete goals encourage you, your journal allows you to record those goals so you can go back and look at them later.

If you don’t know what you want to accomplish yet, you can also use your journal as a workstation to brainstorm goals. Record your research so you know you've found a healthy and scientifically sound objective. When you know you've chosen a rational and sensible goal, you'll likely feel more focused. You’ll feel excited to tackle your diets and physical activities again.

2. You can break your goals into achievable steps to keep motivated.

As you brainstorm your goals, write down short-term milestones so you can keep track of your progress each day or week. If your body tends to shed weight slowly, make your goals smaller accordingly. If you record small, achievable milestones, you'll have small accomplishments to reward you on your journey to better health. And when you feel accomplished, you stay more inspired to keep to your regimen.

3. You can see how you progress on a day-by-day basis.

Most people use a weight loss journal to track their calorie consumption and weight daily. So, as you progress towards your objective, you can see how the pounds creep off. You will see how many fewer calories you consume with time as well.

4. You can go back later and see how far you've come.

Many people lose steam because they don't remember where they started, so they have no idea how much headway they've made. When you keep a journal, you won't have this problem. You can look at your first few entries and feel empowered to continue all your hard work.

5. You can track unhealthy habits that you didn't realize you had.

Maybe you don't realize that you snack on potato chips several times a week—the habit seems like an afterthought, so you don't label it as a habit. However, when you record what you eat in your journal, you'll notice repeated occurrences like this one, and you can take steps to cut them out of your life.

6. You can track what works and what doesn't work so you avoid mistakes in the future.

You'll likely try a few diets and a few different exercise routines before you reach your goal weight. Your journal will keep track of regimens that don't work so you can avoid similar problems later.

The Disadvantages of a Weight Loss Journal

A weight loss journal has only one real disadvantage. If numbers and concrete tracking discourage you, a journal might not work in your situation. You may look at how few pounds you lose every week and decide to quit because you think you only get minor gains for all your exhausting efforts.

But if those numbers inspire you, keep a detailed journal and know that one day it will record your victory over excessive weight.

Things to Record in Your Weight Loss Journal

Now that you know how one of these journals can help you, you need to decide what information to put in it. As mentioned above, you have a variety of methods to choose from. And the more detail you include, the more likely you'll have a successful outcome.

Use your journal to record personal information, such as:

The meals you eat, including snacks and the foods you eat during each meal
The calories that go into each food item—and don't forget to include condiments and other extras
The number of servings you eat at each meal
Your weight at the end of the day (or the beginning of each day)
The inches around your waist
The number of minutes you exercised that day
The type of exercises you did that day
The calories you burned during exercise
Your emotions concerning your diet and exercise
You don't have to include everything in this list. Just make sure you keep track of weight, calories, and exercise at the bare minimum.

For more tips and tricks on losing weight, read through the rest of our blogs. If this method doesn't work for you, another one might. The most important aspect of weight loss is finding a solution that works for you.
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