How Keeping a Diet and Exercise Journal Helped Me

I've always been the kind of person who does better when she writes things down and checks back in on her goals. That's why on New Year's Day (as cliche as it sounds), I decided that I was going to take control of my life and set up a diet and exercise plan for myself. My goal wasn't so much to lose weight as it was to follow a realistic plan that I could sustain and edit as needed. Since that day, I've kept a diet and exercise journal that I use to check and track my progress every day.

So, you might ask how a diet and exercise journal works? The great thing about it is that it doesn't need to be anything specific, it's whatever you want to make of it. You can change things, add to them, and throw them away completely if you think something isn't working. Diet and exercise journals should be about what you can do and your goals, even if one of your goals is cutting back on the number of times you have sugar or dessert a week (yes, that was one of mine).

Photo from Creative Calendars.

In my diet and exercise journal, I keep a monthly log of the date, my weight, if I did any exercise, and calories burned and eaten. I also include two columns for exercise: one for interval training which is a type of exercise I want to do, and another for strength training. I also plan out a week in advance when I'll do interval training and strength training. This way I know exactly when I want to exercise and not only can I plan my day around it, I can hold myself accountable if I don't. I keep track of my weight and calories burned and eaten so I know if I'm going a little too overboard with my meals and need to cut back on portion sizes. Meal planning has also helped me a lot. Whenever I plan out the days I'll exercise, I also plan my meals for the week. This has helped me keep track of which groceries I have and how many meals I have left on the Off Campus Meal Plan. Meal planning also makes it so I don't eat just about anything if I'm in a rush or have a busy day, since I know exactly what I'm going to eat for the day.

Another part of my diet and exercise journal is my food notes section. I have a really sensitive stomach, so it's important for me to track which foods I can enjoy and which foods I should avoid. If this sounds like you, you may benefit from this since you'll have a running list of good and bad foods. I also write if I had any reactions to that specific food so I know in the future to avoid it if it made me sick.


Photo courtesy of Weight Wise.

Keeping a diet and exercise journal has held me so much more accountable for my actions and allowed me to regain control of my eating and exercising habits. Your journal doesn't have to be as complex as mine, but keeping one is definitely worth a try. Try it for a month and see how you like it! You won't be sorry that you did.