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Putting Pen to Paper: How Journaling Can Help You Lose Weight

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You may be asking yourself, “how can journaling possibly help me get my butt into shape?” Well research shows that keeping a food journal doesn’t only help with weight loss, it turbo charges it!

A study by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine took 1,685 overweight or obese U.S. adults aged 25 and older and had them keep a food diary for 6 months.  During these six months the participants were encouraged to eat healthy and exercise as well as the groups met weekly to share about what they were eating and the best way to judge proper portions.  After the 6 months was up the study found that the participants on average lost 13 lbs!

You might be saying “well how do you know it was the food journal that promoted their success?” Well the research actually found that the most powerful predictor of their weight loss was how many days a week they kept their food diary.  Those who wrote down what they ate and drank 6 days a week lost on average about twice as much weight as those who kept a food journal one day a week or less!  That’s right – TWICE as much!

So if you want this BAD enough, you will make the time to journal, because you know your success is DEPENDENT on it.

Here are my top 5 Tips for Journaling:

1. Get Yourself 2 Journals.  I have two journals I write in every day, my food journal and my gratitude journal.  I use my food journal to make sure my body is getting all the vital vitamins and nutrients it needs to be healthy and happy and I use my gratitude journal to keep my mind right.  Not sure what sort of journal you should get?  Get yourself a FitBook for all your diet tracking and try out this gratitude journal like to get you started.

2. Defend the Time.  You need to have a concrete time set aside each day to get your journaling done, if you just put it on your “To Do List” you’ll find that life will get in the way and it will end up not getting completed.  Instead put journaling directly into your schedule. Will you get it done at 9am while you’re sitting at your desk each morning?  Or at 6pm at night after you finish dinner? Make a plan and then stick to it.  Set alarms in your phone, put reminders around your house, do whatever it takes to make it happen.

3. Keep Your Food Journal Simple. Instead of writing down “I had 6 almonds today and 5 carrots” simplify it.  Write down “I had a serving of almonds today and a serving of carrots today, and it made me feel _________.” Noticing how foods affect your body and recording down how it makes you feel is going to be far better for your mentality than recording down every single calorie you eat, we are creating a forever lifestyle not a partaking in a crash DIET.

4. Keep Your Food Journal With You.  I bring my food journal with me at all times because it is easy at the end of the day to forget what you ate.  Make it a habit to carry it around with you and pull it out immediately after you eat.

5. Plan out your meals. Take the guessing out of the equation, if you know what you are going to eat there is a LOT less room for error.  Write it out in your food journal and you’ll be set for success.

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What to Write in Your Gratitude Journal:

  • Start out by writing out your thoughts, feelings, and desires. Use this time to clear the cobwebs in your mind and get a clear start to your day.
  • Write down 3 things you are grateful for. If you focus on all of the things in your life you have to be thankful for you’ll find that it is much easier to keep a positive attitude.
  • Goals. What are your goals for the day, and how do you plan to accomplish them. Ex. Instead of adding “go to the gym” to your to-do list, give it a specific time in your schedule. “I plan to go to the gym at 8am, I will pack my gym bag and outfit laid out the night before”.
  • Self Care. Everyday you should plan to do something for self care, whether its taking a bath, reading a chapter out of an inspiring book or going for a walk. Schedule out some YOU time to recharge your batteries.
  • Progress: what are three things you did well yesterday, and what is one thing you can do better today? Focus on the positive and use the negatives to make you stronger.
  • Non-Scale Victories: Focusing solely on the number on the scale will do you NO good. You’ve got to remind yourself of all the other ways your life has been positively impacted by your decision to lead a healthier life. Every week check in with yourself, use the list below to guide you…

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  • Daily Intentions: Success comes from creating a solid daily routine. You need to be consistent in order to see change. Write out what all you would accomplish in your “perfect day” use that to help you choose your “daily intentions”. Use the list below for some inspiration…

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Take a moment to reflect on why you started your journey to better health in the first place. Use these prompts to help you get started on your first day of journaling.

Why did I start this journey?

What do I strive to achieve on this journey?

How will getting healthy change my life and those closest to me’s lives?

Post your answers in the comments below…

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