One of the most effective tips I can offer…
Keep track of what you’re eating and doing. Simple but so effective. It helps bring such great awareness to your everyday activities and allows you to look back at your behavior if needed.
Nutrition journals are fantastic for simply becoming aware of what you eat. Writing down everything you eat will often open your eyes to habits or trends you weren’t conscious of. Think you only have a treat every once in a while? Write your food choices down for a week or month and see if you still feel that way. So many “healthy” diets fall hard under the scrutiny of analysis from daily journaling. This habit is not meant to discourage but to enlighten. Awareness is key for changing your health. If nothing else you get a nice record of what you eat which is nice for looking back on or for personal reflection.
Exercise logs are also great records to have. Although they are also great for awareness fitness journals are an invaluable tool for tracking progress. The easiest way to improve your fitness is to see what you did the last time you did a similar workout and try to beat it the next time. Deadlifted 150 pounds 10 times next week? Try 11 reps or a heavier weight. Ran a mile in just over 8 minutes? Shoot for a few seconds faster the next time.
Finally, look to starting a “life” journal. Stress, sleep, time management, finances, relationships and hobbies are all examples of things that can affect your life and progress toward health. Being able to look back at your entries, thoughts and notes are unbelievably helpful in keeping on track. Stress been overwhelming? Make a note of it, you might forget in a month and it’s nice to have a record of things like that.
A good rule of thumb is you should be consistently improving. If you’re not then look at your records. Has a plateau in weight loss mirrored some bad eating days? Has a stall in your strength or conditioning followed a week or two of little to no exercise (or too much or too intense exercise)? Feeling a little tired or just a bit off your game? Take a look at your sleep and stress the last couple weeks. Use your record keeping for great feedback and constant adjustment. You will be amazed at how much you can gain from something as simple as just writing things down.
The Bare 5 Bottom Line:
If A + B + C does not equal D, look at your records and find out why.
Thanks for reading, have a great record keeping week!
How do I keep track? For nutrition I use the My Plate Livestrong app on my phone and you can see my workouts on the newly created blog Bare 5 Fitness. You can also get there from the Bare 5 Home Page in the Main Menu.