By Carol Anthony 21/11/2020
At 84days2health we are passionate about journaling. Keeping a daily health and wellness journal has many amazing benefits. Recording your daily habits evokes mindfulness, makes you accountable and keeps you motivated. Journaling also allows to you keep perspective, record your progress and celebrate victories.
Here are some suggestions that make for good journaling.
#1 Food Journaling
Whether you are trying to lose weight, or simply trying to be healthier, recording your food intake and meals can be most beneficial. Often we eat unconsciously, discount the nibbles between meals, or are unaware of our portion sizes. Recording your daily food intake will make you more accountable and assist you in the following areas:
If you are trying to lose weight, it is most beneficial to record all your meals, snacks and any nibbling in between. Record not only what you eat, but portion sizes as well. This may indicate where you are going wrong if your weight is not shifting. We are definitely more mindful about what we eat when we record it. It is very easy to discount the random biscuit, leftovers at the end of a meal or even the kids’ snacks. I had a client once tell me that the nibbles she had of her children’s food or snacks didn’t count because it was their food and not hers. She really believed this until she thought about what she was saying. After all it wasn’t part of her scheduled meals or snacks. As soon as she stopped eating their leftovers, her weight started to come down.
Portion control, or portion distortion is very real. The calorie creep happens when portions become too big. Our modern way of eating has been supersized. Many establishments encourage us to upsize rather than restricting our portion size. Dinner plates and even cake tins have become bigger. Portion distortion usually happens over a period of time and we often don’t realise it. Recording your meal and the size thereof will bring awareness to the size of the portion you’re eating and keep you in check. Always avoid BIG portions of food. Rather split the same amount of food into a meal and 1 or 2 snacks.
If you are trying to be healthier, recording your meals will help you to get a good picture of how you are eating. What macro ratio are you having? Is your diet carb heavy? Are you getting all your micro nutrients? Does your day involve a lot of processed food or junk food. By accurately recording your eating you can establish how healthy your diet is and make necessary adjustments.
Recording your day’s food intake may seem tedious, but a worthwhile exercise if you have specific goals in mind. Achieving your goals is way more successful when coupled with accountability and mindfulness.
#2 Recording Exercise and Movement
When tracking a healthy lifestyle it is also beneficial to track your exercise and movement. When exercising formally, record the exercises done, body parts trained, number of sets and reps as well as weights used where applicable. This applies to weight training or body weight training. If you do any form of cardio, walking, running, cycling, swimming you may want to record distances, speed and intensity.
By keeping track of your exercise in this way not only will you be able to track progress, assess strength gains, monitor fitness but it will keep you motivated and accountable. For those days that you doubt whether you are making progress, you will be able to look back and see how far you have come.
This is an important part of journaling. We often get so bogged down by everyday life, it’s stresses and hardships, that we forget to look at how much we really do have to be grateful for. And there is always something to be grateful for. Find some quiet time to reflect or meditate in gratitude. Record it so it becomes that much more tangible. Spend a little time each day being grateful rather than bemoaning your lot in life.
#4 Goal setting
Goal setting is an important part of success. Without goals we tend to bumble through life, one day rolling into the next, without a strong sense of achievement. Goals, once set are tangible and measurable. Goals may be long term goals, goals to achieve in a month, a week, or even a daily to-do list. Write them down, or else goals will only remain pipedreams, seldom achieved. Be specific in goal setting, whether they apply to health, weight loss, wealth or wellness. No goal is too insignificant, every goal counts. Recording it makes it attainable and makes you accountable.
#5 Rate your Day
At the end of each day, it is a good habit to Rate Your Day. As you get into bed, evaluate your day regarding diet, exercise, productivity, mood and goals achieved. This will make you more accountable and mindful about what you need to change the next day.
How to record your journal
There is no right or wrong way to do this. You may choose to do it electronically, via an app or the old fashioned pen-and-paper way. I prefer the latter, it allows me to flick back and forth in my journal and reflect on how far I’ve come. Journal in as much detail as possible, or as time permits. No one need ever see your journal. However, should you have reached a plateau in your progress, be feeling tired r unmotivated, a journal can be an invaluable tool for your health coach or nutritionist. It may well hold the key to your future success.
If you are looking for a good journal to record all the above-mentioned in, the 84days2health journal ticks all the boxes and more, along with a daily health/fitness tip and motivational message. As our journals are not dated, you can start journaling at any time.
Give yourself or a special friend a gift of health this year by ordering your journal here.