Wednesday, January 13, 2010

To Journal or Not To Journal


That is the question...

I've been reading a lot lately about the power of journaling. In life, and specifically for weight loss. The journaling could be as detailed as a daily diary, recording not only food and exercise, but thoughts, emotions and the day's activities. Or it could be as simple as a notebook with the day's calorie intake and expenditure jotted down. But there seems to be a strong connection between weight loss success and the act of journaling.

For me personally, I see a direct connection between my success and whether or not I journal.

If I record my food, I tend to think harder about what I eat. I record my food intake, and the calories and fat, as well as what exercise I did. I know there's no point in lying to myself, so I'm brutally honest about that bag of M&M's that I knew I shouldn't have had, but gobbled up anyway. And at the end of the week when I check my weight, its crystal clear why I did or didn't lose anything that week. I can see what I ate, whether I exercised, and how much water I drank.

I also keep track of what happened that day - not in 'dear diary' detail, but just making note of anything specific that had a major impact. Whether I went out to lunch with the girls, had good news or had a stressful appointment. It helps me see, too, how my emotions and life are impacting my success and weight journey.

What about you? Do you journal, or have you in the past? Did you see a direct connection to your success when you did?

13 comments:

Michelle Butler on January 14, 2010 at 9:37 AM said...

Tawny,

I think it's so important to journal. Studies say that most people underestimate how much they eat on any given day, and I know I can do that. If you want to lose weight, you do have to limit your calorie intake. Knowing exactly how much you've eaten is key to that, and the food diary is really necessary - particularly in the beginning.

I now recognize that I have a problem with emotional eating. To stop that, I need to find ways to work out those emotions. Journaling helps with that as well. So does this blog. :)

I'm definitely in the "to journal" camp. I do know some folks who have been able to lose weight without journaling and detest it, so journaling may not be for everyone.

Sally Kilpatrick on January 14, 2010 at 9:45 AM said...

I'm a firm believer in journaling. I'm most successful when I'm keeping up with calories consumed, vitamins taken, water that I drank, and what types of exercise I did.

My problem is that I can't find a good journal that isn't attached to a program. A notebook workds, but the other journals (Like the APEX one) were better.

Michelle Butler on January 14, 2010 at 10:13 AM said...

What's the APEX journal?

flchen1 on January 14, 2010 at 2:44 PM said...

I don't recall journaling my food intake, but I can see how it might be a useful tool! I've kept a regular journal in the past, and it's neat to be able to flip back and see the patterns in one's life; I imagine that'd be true of a food journal, too!

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) on January 14, 2010 at 5:13 PM said...

I keep a food diary, though I was really lax in that department during December. I'm getting back into the rhythm of it now. I put what I eat, the calories in each item, the total and any exercise I do. I don't write any of the other things like highs/lows/etc.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) on January 14, 2010 at 5:13 PM said...

And it really can be shocking how many calories are in things.

Tawny on January 14, 2010 at 5:33 PM said...

Michelle, I totally agree with everything you said *g* For me personally, its impossible to realistically gauge how I'm doing with both eating and with exercise unless I'm writing it down. But as you say, its not for everyone and there are people who just the idea of journaling will derail them before they can start.

Tawny on January 14, 2010 at 5:34 PM said...

Sally, I'd love to know what an APEX journal is as well.

I've created my own journal pages after years of having to adjust to this or that program. I made them on Word and print them out each month. There is something about the process of writing it by hand that really helps me stay on track, and I have spaces for everything I want to track.

Tawny on January 14, 2010 at 5:35 PM said...

Fedora, I've never been a 'journal life' kind of gal, but always wanted to be *g* I do journal life stuff for scrapbooking and like you say, its always so fun to flip back and see what was what when *g*

Tawny on January 14, 2010 at 5:36 PM said...

Trish, I started adding 'events' to my journal just to see what kind of thing was impacting my food choices and exercise energy. I was surprised, yet at the same time not so surprised, to see how strong an effect outside events had on my choices.

Sally Kilpatrick on January 15, 2010 at 7:05 AM said...

Sorry I'm late. Okay, so APEX was a weight loss program that I did back in Knoxville in the late 90s. The program was done through the gym and included a test to determine the acidity of my stomach and then a calculation of how many calories I could eat each day, supplements geared to my need, and biweekly visits to monitor weight loss and body fat percentage. They also included a journal. I loved that program, but I haven't been able to find it anywhere since nor have I been able to buy supplements or the journal online. I THINK they may be affiliated with the 24/7 gyms if you have one of those nearby.

I also tried LA Weight Loss. They are a bunch of charlatans, and you shouldn't go anywhere near them. It's true that I did lose a significant amount of weight, BUT they charge a ton of money for it and, like the Music Man, they like to come into town and create these contracts then leave town. I signed up because they were affiliated with where my hubby works, and I got a discount. I was lucky. When I went on the Internet later, I discovered they had bilked some people out of thousands of dollars. There's a lot of finessing the truth and hidden costs that go along with that program--at lease the one that we had here in GA. If anyone's having a good experience, then I should be careful to say that SOME of the centers have been guilty of these things.

I also tried a journal that I found at the local B&N, but it was entirely too complicated. *sigh* For now notebook paper will have to do.

Sorry this was so long--ask a Kilpatrick a question...

Michelle Butler on January 15, 2010 at 10:12 AM said...

Thanks, Sally! I've never heard of the APEX program and enjoyed the description. Thank you for describing it. Can you recreate the APEX journal youself using word? Can you remember what you liked about it so much?

Sally Kilpatrick on January 20, 2010 at 7:00 AM said...

I suppose you could recreate it, but I like a couple of things about it--alas, I threw mine away in one of my organizational fits. First, it was purse size--very compact. Second, it had the best food chart in the back complete with serving sizes, calorie and fat content, etc. I have yet to find another one so thorough. I also really liked the supplements that went with the program--the energy vitamin was great and didn't make me want to move to another county when I opened the bottle like the latest ones from the health store. The journal had a spot for each meal, two snacks, all of your water intake, what exercises you did, complete calorie and fat information, etc. I ahve one that's sort of similar called I Will Lose Weight This Time! Diet Journal. It's similar but it has too much information on the page, and it's really bulky. I'll come back if I ever find something that works for me and share what it is.

Post a Comment

 

Healthy Writer Copyright © 2009 Girlymagz is Designed by Bie Girl Vector by Ipietoon