A Diary for Weight Loss

Overview

Losing weight is challenging. However, keeping a diary during your weight loss journey may increase your success. When you make a commitment to improving your health by losing weight, use a diary to track the food you eat, your exercise accomplishments, your emotional well-being and your life goals. Take advantage of this proven technique–it’s never too late to start a weight loss diary.

Benefits

A weight loss diary holds you accountable for the choices you make every day. Keeping a food diary has the potential to double your weight loss, according to an August 2008 study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. In the study, participants who recorded their food intake six days a week for the duration of the study lost 18 pounds, as opposed to a 9-pound loss by those who did not record their food. Use your diary every day to reap the full benefits.

Diary

Buy a three-ring binder or a spiral bound notebook divided into sections. You also can print out journal pages from an online template (see Resources). Divide your diary into four sections–food, exercise, emotions and goals. If you choose a three-ring binder, place graph paper in the goal section to track your weight-loss progress in graph form. Add a current picture of yourself and an inspiration photo to your journal’s inside cover. For your inspiration picture, choose one of yourself at a healthy weight.

Food

Use the food intake section to record every item you eat during the day. Be honest with yourself, and record all the food you eat, even if you make a poor choice. Use an online calorie calculator or book with calorie information to keep track of your caloric intake for the day. Include snacks and beverages in your diary. Use the totals from this section to make sure you’re consuming the proper number of calories each day.

Exercise

Record your current fitness level and body measurements in your diary’s exercise section. Include such information as how easy it is for your to perform certain activities, such as walking up stairs, running for 2 minutes or walking long distances. Measure your chest, arms, calves, waist, thighs and hips. Every time you exercise, record what you did and for how long. Summarize your exercise totals on a weekly basis. Retake your body measurements on a monthly basis.

Emotions

Each day, note in the emotions section how you’re feeling when you eat various foods. Learning to control emotional eating will help you succeed. “Emotional eating can sabotage your weight loss efforts,” according to the Mayo Clinic. “Emotional eating often leads to eating too much, especially too much of high-calorie, sweet, fatty foods.” As you work on losing weight, use the emotions section of your diary to learn what emotions trigger a food response.

Goals

Dedicate the final section in your diary to your goals. Record all your goals, including weight, size, body measurements and health goals. Use the graph paper to plot the downward trend of your weight loss. This graph will encourage you if your weight loss stalls. In addition to weight-related goals, set life goals. Include such fitness goals as being able to run a 5K, participate in a new sport, climb a mountain or ride a bicycle. Set weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly goals. Celebrate as you reach each goal.

About this Author

Diane Carbonell began writing in 1998 as a guest columnist for the “Tallahassee Democrat.” After losing 158 pounds, she wrote her own weight-loss curriculum and teaches classes on diet and fitness. Carbonell also writes for The Oz Blog and her own blog, Fit to the Finish. She has a Bachelor of Science in finance from Florida State University.