People who keep a food diary lose twice as much weight as those who don’t, according to a 2008 study published by the American Journal of Preventative Medicine.
This month, with our clients, we are focusing on the art of keeping a diary. No matter what our client’s goals are, we want them to track something that they are doing. We are treating this is as a simple experiment where we test to see the impact journaling their journey will have.
For clients looking for fat loss, we have suggested either keeping a food diary / food tracker or counting steps as both have been proven time and again to be a highly effective tool for successful fat loss.
For others looking to improve performance we asked them to track the numbers; how many miles per week are they running, how much weight are they lifting etc.
For both, we have also suggested that they expand on just the quantities and put in more information including how they were feeling, times of days, events surrounding it to give them a better feel of the bigger picture.
Tips on how to successfully keep a diary
- As much as you can, track as you go. Keep your diary handy, use an app on your phone or take a picture and complete it at the end of the day.
- Aim to record as you go. Generally, people who keep a food diary and complete their diary at the end of the day are much more likely to underreport the foods that they eat.
- Try not to be judgemental of yourself as you record it. This is not a self-deprecating exercise. Try to remove emotion and just record what happened.
- Aim to make it a habit. Fill it in after you finish your post workout shower or before you put the dishes in the dishwasher
- Beef out the information that you keep. How were you feeling before you ate? Did you stop when you were full? How did the legs feel on the run?
- Set time aside for reflection each day to analyse the inputs. Are there patterns that you can see? Is there something you have learned from your behaviours? Are there red flags appearing?
- Choose the method that works best for you; if you are a pen and paper type of person then have a diary to record your progress in. Contrastingly there are lots of great apps out there that can track what you do. Personally I like myfitnesspal for tracking food and Strava for tracking my runs.
Most successful athletes keep a training diary so why not try this underused tool to get you on track with your health and fitness plan.
P.S – If you want to get involved in our journal experiment – join our closed Facebook group here.