When you see people take photos of their meals or post about their workouts, they might be on to something – not a vain something, but a healthy one.
Why to record food and activity
Studies show writing down what you eat will likely help you make healthier eating choices. The act of recording it makes you take a couple minutes to reflect on your choices and feel accountable for them. It also helps put different foods you eat in perspective – maybe you tend to binge on a healthy food like nuts but didn’t realize how that added up nutritionally.
“Hands down, those that record their food intake in detail are far more successful than those who don’t. It shows a level of commitment, mindfulness, reflection, and honesty.” – Stephanie Middleberg, R.D.
Recording exercise can have the same benefits of considering choices more carefully and feeling more accountable. It will remind you tomorrow and the next day if today you skip your workout. It is also full of non-weight victories for a more balanced measure of success – maybe you were able to complete more reps or had better posture in a challenging exercise.
Diet and exercise logs also help you review where you may have gone off track. Maybe you tried to ramp up your exercise too quickly in one week and the next week you started eating less nutrient comfort food. You may blame it on your willpower, but you may have been burning yourself out and taking pleasure out of activity that you sought more pleasure in food.
Since it takes time to see effects in your body, it can be tempting to sneak an extra sugary treat or hide a skipped workout. But we know that long-term health is based on daily decisions – so breaking down achievements to the daily or weekly level is more effective than waiting to hold yourself accountable by the date you plan to reach your goal weight.