Are you keeping a food and activity diary? Do you spend hours logging things into an app on your phone? At some point you either become obsessed or burnt out. Do you wonder why you even do it? Often we gather lots of data and spend time tediously adding up the calories, but then don’t really know what we learned from it. We might be able to tell how many calories each item in the grocery store has, but do we know how to use that knowledge to drive our decision making? Taking time to be reflective, can make the process more effective. (Rhyme intended)
Being reflective is more than just writing down your calories and activities. It also includes consideration for how you’re feeling on a given day. Write down what is stressing you out or what went right with the day. Reflect back on the day and log your stressors, your joys, your frustrations and your successes. Logging emotional events will help you to identify life patterns and how they correlate with your fitness patterns.
One of the most important ways to use your journaling is to go back and review specific days. You have to distance yourself from the emotion for a second and just look for patterns. It may be helpful to even share your diary with a trusted friend to gain insight about ways you can improve from a 3rd party observer. Find successful days and “bad” days, or just a random review.
Go through the meals and activities of the day and list what you did “right” first. Look at each item and decide if it was a DECISION that was part of your plan, or a REACTION to some stressor or event. Seeing these patterns will help you take control of your life. You can then better identify when you are making choices based on your fitness goals or if you are just being pushed around by life.
Next, go back through and list things you can
You can do this in multiple categories of life: food, exercise, work or home tasks, and daily activity/exercise for example. If your workout was too short or less than desirable, look at your day and find out why. Were some of the barriers things you could have swapped for better choices? Were some just time consuming things you could have eliminated altogether? (like looking at blogs and Facebook posts like this one! Ha Ha)
Being reflective will help you take control and give purpose to your journaling. You’ll be able to practice swapping out REACTIONS for better DECISIONS. You’ll find that you’re more prepared to make the key choices in real life which lead to fitness goal SUCCESS!
WARNING!!! Prolonged use of food and activity journals will burn you out!!! - Because of this, I recommend that you only keep food and activity diaries for short periods of time like 2-3 weeks – MAX! Other journaling is great! The reason for the short window is that it burns people out as it becomes more of a daily PASS or FAIL game – full of guilt!
Diaries can be very helpful for getting you back on track if you notice plateaus in your results or if you notice that your habits have shifted (for the good…or the not so good) and you want to gain more insight into what’s going on. Reflective journaling will give you the personal insight needed to better understand your fitness goals and what you need to do to master them.
To learn more about how Body Smart can help you Master YOUR fitness goals based on YOUR body and YOUR metabolism, check out our other blog posts.
If you’d like to get TESTED so you can learn about YOUR metabolism contact Dr. Cameron Garber at 801-479-4471.