What is a Weight Loss Journal

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weight loss journal

One of the best ways to organize your life and to stay on target is to keep a journal. By writing out objectives and staying on top of changes taking places and tasks you need to complete, you’ll improve your ability to reach your goals.

A journal is an excellent way to keep you honest and to track your progress. Journals can do more than just help you obtain professional goals though.

Commit to a Weight Loss Journal

It can also help you with your weight loss goals. If you’re struggling with weight loss it may be because you’re not staying on top of what you’re consuming and what you’re doing to shed the weight.

With the help of a weight loss journal you’ll have a clearer understanding of what you’re putting into your body and what needs to happen to reach your weight loss potential. 

What Is A Weight Loss Journal?

A weight loss journal can be a number of things. First, you can write out your frustrations of weight loss and any kind of emotional issue you want to get off your chest. Sometimes just putting thought to paper and never saying it out loud can work wonders. It’s often better to write it in a journal than to keep it bottled out. 

Next, the journal can help you keep track of your weight loss goals. You can write about how much weight you want to lose and track your weight loss. You may want to include other fitness goals in there as well, such as running a mile at a set pace, reaching a certain amount of weight on a bench press, the ability to swim the length of a pool, and so on.

Having the goals written can make the goals feel more real, instead of something that’s just floating in your head. 

Lastly, and probably most importantly (with regards to actual weight loss), is you will keep a detailed journal of everything you eat.

Some people might call it a dietary journal, but basically whenever you eat something you will add it in here. Nothing can be left out. The more detailed the better.

This includes not only what is eaten but also what beverages are consumed. Often empty calories come from beverages, so the more detailed you are with what you put in your body the easier it will become to make the necessary changes. 

journal

Analyzing Your Journal

At first it will seem like a chore to write out everything you eat. You need to add in that banana you ate on the car ride over to work or the snack bag of chips you ate in the break room. These are small items you might forget about when attempting to tally up your calorie count for the day.

That is why you need to have your journal with you, especially when first starting out.

Eventually you won’t need to write out everything. The journal’s diet element is something to use early on to help you stay honest about your diet and to make the necessary changes. 

After writing out everything you’ve consumed for several days you will want to look back at each day. One of the struggles with weight loss is you might not see the kind of weight loss you’d like and not know what else you can do.

After all, you’re dieting and going to the gym, but you’re still not seeing the results. This is where analyzing the journal can come in. 

All athletes use some kind of analysis to improve their performance. A baseball pitcher, for example, will have their entire delivery recorded. They can then watch their delivery in super slow motion and pinpoint problems in the motion or the release point.

From there, they can make the necessary adjustments to improve how they pitch. Golfers do this with their swing, football players do this to improve their vision and mechanics. Basically all athletes do this in some way. Your weight loss journal is your personal analysis which will help you improve your diet performance

Going over your consumption for several days gives you a window into all the minor ways you can cut calories that you might not have realized.

First, you have a fuller representation of the total number of calories you’re consuming, which may be higher than you realize.

From there, you can pinpoint small areas which will help you remove unnecessary calories. Perhaps you notice you’re eating salads with creamy dressings (like ranch or blue cheese).

Swapping these out for a vinegarette will save you a few hundred calories. Or you’re drinking three cups of coffee a day, all with cream and sugar. Swapping out the cream for skim milk, no milk, removing the cinnamon, or switching to tea will save you another few hundred calories.

While just examples, when you have everything written out in front of you it becomes that much easier to adjust your diet. And by removing a few hundred calories from your diet every day, you’ll see significant results over the course of a few weeks. 

Boost More Than Weight Loss

The main goal of a weight loss journal is to help you lose more weight.

However, that isn’t the only beneficial result you’ll experience when taking advantage of such a journal. You may also see an improvement in your overall self-esteem.

In an article published in Appetite (2014), researchers looked at how using a weight loss journal effected not only weight loss, but weigh loss and secondary issues, including self-esteem, depression, body image, mood, psyche, and other mental aspects of your daily life. 

In the article, 12 studies were performed focusing specifically on the improvement in self-esteem. In 10 of the 12 studies, self-esteem consistently improved, while the other two studies did not find any sizable differences. 17 studies in the research focused specifically on depression. One of the studies did not see any change in depression, and another report found marginal differences.

The remaining 15 studies all saw a reduction in a person’s depressive symptoms the further along they went with their weight loss journal. Most of this is due to the journal making it easier to find methods of improvement. It offers a blueprint and map for boosting weight loss instead of running into dead ends and not knowing how to go about making the necessary dietary changes. 

Favorable results were seen in all other areas conducted in the research, including a boost in personal body image and a person’s quality of life. Not seeing any kind of weight loss after focusing on dieting and exercise can cause a person to become depressed and suffer body image issues. With the help of a weight loss journal it is easier to see continued results. 

The Results Don’t Lie

Keeping a food journal is one of the best things you can do for improving your weight loss potential.

According to a study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, individuals who kept track of everything they ate for six days a week ended up losing twice as much weight as those individuals who kept records of what they ate for one day a week or less.

The study indicated when a person physically writes down everything they ate it instantly makes them more aware of not only what they’re eating, but how much they’re eating. Many people pick and nibble on food items throughout the day, not realizing just how much they might be eating.

It can be a few peanuts from a snack mix here, a handful of M&Ms there, and at the end of the day a person might be consuming hundreds, if not thousands of more calories than what they initially assumed. 

The weight loss journal helps a person avoid over eating and over indulging by keeping them aware, and at the same time many people will avoid consuming certain items throughout the day because they simply don’t want to deal with writing it down.

So, instead of eating a bite-sized Snickers bar and have to pull out the journal and write it down, they simply skip it. 

weight loss journal apples and weights

Weight Loss Programs That Use A Journal

There are a number of weight loss programs that focus on directly monitoring what you eat, forcing you to keep track of everything going into your body. Weight Watchers is one of the most recognized programs that does this. Instead of having you directly write down everything you eat it uses a point system.

Everything you eat has a set point number.

In order to reach a target weight you need to stay under a certain daily point total. With this kind of method it not only requires you to keep track of what you’re eating and the “points” given to each item, but it gives you a target to hit every day. If you are looking for a structured way of using a journal and altering what you eat, the Weight Watchers method may be the right fit for you.

According to Delish, Weight Watchers is the very best weight loss program from a food perspective. This is because there are no “off-limit” foods. Only a point system. And when you monitor what you’re eating it is that much easier to see results, all without starving yourself or avoiding certain foods, which is a common staple in most other diets. 

There are all kinds of counting calorie diets out there. Counting calories will require you to keep a weight loss journal and write everything down. However, this kind of a diet does become cumbersome for some.

Writing out not only what you’re eating but measuring everything out so you know the exact calorie down to the number is time-consuming.

This kind of dedication is one reason why many people eventually stop with such a diet. It’s very labor intensive and takes the weight loss journal to the next level.

Now, if you are an athlete looking for specifics, counting calories and keeping the information in a journal may be right for you, especially if you need to make weigh-ins or cut a set amount of weight by a specific time.

Other than this though there’s a reason why programs like Weight Watchers are so successful. It completely simplifies the “counting calories” process. Instead of adding up every little thing, you just monitor what you eat and add up a few points. 

Use It To Your Advantage

If you want to sign up for a specific diet program in conjunction with your weight loss journal by all means go for it. You might find the added structure helps improve your weight loss. Whatever you decide to do though just make it your own.

While you should use it to monitor what you’re eating and make the necessary chances, use it to write out your weight loss frustrations and other thoughts you have. This way, the journal won’t just help with your physical wellbeing but your mental wellbeing. 

Deficit deadlift

Conclusion

Weight loss isn’t always easy. For many of us, reaching our goal weight and keeping it there is as much of a challenge as anything else in life.However, there are a number of ways you can improve your ability to both put off the weight and keep it off. One of the best ways to do this is with a weight loss journal. With the journal you’ll keep track of what you eat.

This gives you an honest report of what’s going in your body. It makes it easier to analyze everything you’re consuming and make the necessary lifestyle changes. Now, your journal is only going to work if you’re completely honest, so don’t keep anything out.

The more truthful you are the easier it will become to find ways to cut out calories and to improve how many calories you burn on a daily basis. So if you’ve been struggling with weight loss, this one tool may be what eventually puts you over the edge and propels you to weight loss success.

-Terry Asher

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Terry Asher

Owner & Founder at Gym Junkies LLC
After changing his best friend’s life by helping him lose over 70lbs, dropping him down to an amazing 7% body fat, Terry was inspired to be a full-time internet trainer knowing he could do the same for many more. In 2010, Terry published his own diet and fitness e-book that can be purchased on this website. Let Terry help you change your body for the better!
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